Hope School Community Center
The Hope School, built in 1925, is one of South Carolina’s remaining Rosenwald Schools. The Hope School Community Center, Inc., is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to raise funds to restore the former school into a Community Center serving the…
The Hope School, built in 1925, is one of South Carolina’s remaining Rosenwald Schools. The Hope School Community Center, Inc., is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to raise funds to restore the former school into a Community Center serving the citizens of Pomaria and Newberry County.
The school was constructed with matching funds from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, created by the President of Sears in the early 1900s to help improve the education of rural African Americans. Several teachers and students still live in the Pomaria area.
Hope School was named for James H. Hope, J.J. Hope, and Mary H. Hipp, who donated land to build the school. Dr. Hope was Superintendent of Education for the State of South Carolina from 1922-1946 and spearheaded many projects to reduce school funding disparities between wealthy and poor counties and to expand the educational opportunities of all races.
The Hope Rosenwald School was included as a historic site on the National Register of Historic Places on October 3, 2007 and had a grand opening August 22, 2009. One of the most distinguished guests was Jacquelyn Serwer, who is the chief curator of the new National Museum of of African American History and Culture. This newest addition to the Smithsonian Institution will open on the Mall in Washington D. C. in 2015. Included as part of the permanent exhibit will be desks and one of the original signs from the Hope School.
Keeping the Dream Alive - The Hope School Community Center Restoration Project. By Tenetha Flemon Hall:
"What you are about to read is a Vision God gave me. You will be surprised who is watching you and your works.
Originally built in 1925, the Hope School building had ceased being used as a school in 1954 and was converted into workspace for alumni and the adjacent AME Church. My sister, Lillie Flemon Wise, along with members of the Hope School Alumni Committee, lead the initial effort to raise funds, hoping one day they would be able to restore the old school building they attended school at an early age.
I did not attend Hope School but my sisters and brothers (the Flemons) did. Watching them inspired me to open my heart and mind and to go above and beyond the call of duty, and make a difference in the Pomaria/Peak Area. After the death of my sister Lillie in March of 2003 God gave me a Vision to continue the work on the Hope School project!
I was determined to restart the Restoration Project so I sat down and wrote a Vision and Goals Statement for the community center that I wanted us to create. I formed a plan from the beginning to the end and then contacted and shared the plan with the Alumni Committee that had worked with my sister. This group included Bo-Nita Heller, Louis Flemon, Thomas Flemon, Margaret Heller, Vivian Heller, Sim Heller, Leola Glymph, Louise Spencer, Mary Rutherford, Washington Spencer and Freddie Houseal. They all were willing, excited and anxious to continue working on this Great Project of fond memories.
The success of the project to date owes much to the dedication of the school alumni and key volunteers. Some of the volunteers are related to the Hope Family whom donated the land back in the day for the school to be built. In 2006, Ronald Hope and Jay Hope, along with their wives, Elsa and Joy, joined our committee.
In March 2007, I stepped down from Chairperson of the HSCC, Inc. and to work as the Administrative Secretary. I knew it would take more leg work to start the physical restoration and since I’m presently employed, I stepped down and the Board voted Ronald Hope as Chairperson."