Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Edward L. Hearington

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

By Lillye Younger

Little Red Schoolhouse Changed

PARSONS, Tenn. — Edward L. Hearington, superintendent of Decatur County Schools and president of the West Tennessee Education Association, has his share of years of service in the educational field.

He received his public school education in Parsons, graduating from Parsons High School, attended Bethel College at McKenzie following his graduation to earn his bachelor's degree. "I received my Master's degree at Memphis State University," the slender black-haired educator said. He majored in administration and minored in curriculum.

After college days, Hearington settled down to teaching in the elementary schools in Decatur County. "I taught for 20 years in the elementary schools as principal or teacher," he explained," then I taught for two years at Parsons High School and served as junior coach for two years."

"I taught my first Decatur County school and Cub Creek Hall," he reminisced. It was a one-teacher school with grades one through eight. The two-story frame structure served as a church, school and the upper story was a Masonic ball.

"The sound of the school bell in the morning meant it was 'time for books'," he said, "and it took a lot of teaching to cover eight grades in one day. The teaching methods were so different from the present day ones.

"We had no hot lunch program, with the aroma of home-cooked food. Lunch pails or baskets were filled from the breakfast table with ham and biscuits, eggs and sometime a delectable baked sweet potato or fried apple pie. Our drinking water came from a spring, which was our only liquid. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the essential subjects taught.

Hearington's concern lies in the number of drop-outs in the county as well as in the nation. "Around 30 percent of students are drop-outs on a nationwide basis," he said. Here in Decatur County we have around 25 percent of our students who drop out of school before graduating. One of my chief objectives has been to eliminate this alarming condition," he added.

His advise to the youth of today is to get a good education. "We are living in a skilled world and if youths don't prepare themselves in the field of education they will have to rely on common labor such as ditch digging for a livelihood. The percentage of common labor jobs is only 5 percent in our nation today. Most any type of work requires at least a high school education," he pointed out.

In 1960 Hearington was elected superintendent of Decatur County schools and has held this postion since. "My 1960 platform was the erection of a consolidated county school," the superintendent said. "However, it wasn't accomplished for almost five years later."

It was a red-letter day on his calendar when Decaturville High School and Parsons High School merged and formed Riverside High School, located half way between the two towns. The modern brick high schools was completed for the 1965-66 school term.

"It added one-third more courses," he said. Some of the outstanding additions are the distributive education course, the vocational office training program and machine shop.

"The promotion of the machine shop has been a lot of help to students, so much so that one girl took the course," he said. "We bought our equipment through the Army surplus and a federal representative said it was one of the best equipped Army Surplus Machine shops on any high school in the southeastern part of the United States."

Another addition, is the part-time dental hygienist program launched last year. County schools are visited by the dentist and hygienist and student's teeth are checked and cleaned.

Reading laboratories have been set up in the county schools and a science laboratory has been set up for seventh and eighth grade students at Parsons, Decaturville and Scotts Hill junior high schools.

Hearington was elected president of the West Tennessee Education Association in October at a meeting held in Nashville. His objectives are to help plan next year's programs and to promote education and benefit teachers in the West Tennessee area.

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