Book fundraiser highlights Junior schools

After dusting off old photos and unearthing historical records, a local father-and-son team aims to raise money for the students of today by selling a book that features the schools of yesteryear.

Blake Williams and his father Jeff Williams have compiled photos, stories and facts about local schools from 1870 to the present for their book, “School Days – A History of Junior Area Schools.”

The recently released book is formatted like a present-day yearbook.

It contains information about many schools in Barbour County, including Junior Elementary, Steerman, Weaver, Dartmoor, Stone Coal, Fairview, Zebb’s Creek and West Junior. It offers many photos and tells the history of each of the area schools.

“We did this book as a fundraiser for Junior Elementary School,” said Blake Williams, president of the Junior Parent Teacher Association. “I thought this would be a great way to earn money. All profits will be donated for school events through the Junior PTA.”

Blake Williams said he and his father found their information through research, often speaking with older residents in the area and perusing Barbour County Courthouse records. They also looked through records at the Barbour County Board of Education.

“Gathering information was the hardest part of compiling the book,” he said. “We would be moving along, and then uncover missing years of records. Finding someone to fill in the blanks was difficult.

“The most interesting fact I learned in doing research was that there was a school before the current Junior Elementary School,” Blake Williams continued. “My father has been compiling information about the schools over the last few years. We began compiling photos and writing the book at the beginning of this school year.

“It is a shame not more pictures are available, especially those of Junior,” he added.

“Most of the books have lots of photos of Belington and Philippi. We are fortunate Dad collected pictures of Junior schools.”

After working together on this successful effort, the pair plan to work on another book, one that showcases the history of Junior.

“Clearly, the best part of this project has been working with my dad,” Blake Williams said.

Copies of “School Days – A History of Junior Area Schools” are available in Belington at Mace’s Pharmacy.