This month marks 60 years of operation for Sugar Loaf Elementary School, located about three miles north of Taylorsville on NC Highway 16.
The school was constructed in late 1957 and students moved in early in 1958, with the first day of classes held Friday, March 7, 1958. It housed grades one through seven. Pupils and teachers were transferred from Taylorsville School.
Its facility featured three-way, split-level construction and it cost $115,000 to build at the time. It included a teachers’ lounge and combination library and cafeteria. There were eight classrooms at the time.
Leaders through the years
Mr. Vernon S. Felton, was Sugar Loaf’s first principal. Teachers were Mrs. Mitchell Ingram, Miss Rusha Austin, Mrs. Claude Moose, Mrs. John Roberson, Mrs. Vaughn Jennings, Mrs. Robert Deal, and Mrs. Vernon S. Felton.
Mr. Felton served as Sugar Loaf principal until 1961. Then, Mr. H. M. Young took the helm, working as principal 1961-1966. Aaron Spry served in the role 1966-1975, and was succeeded by Joel Blackburn (1975-1999). Mr. Blackburn was followed by Mrs. Pat Coutts, who served 1999-2000. Then, Mrs. Julie Morrow led the school during 2000-2001. Since 2001, Mr. Cary Cash has held the reins as principal.
The campus has had several additions. Two additional classrooms were added in 1959 to provide room for eighth grade. The gym was built in 1965, and the library was added in the fall of 1966. A kindergarten building was added for the 1976-1977 school year. In 1984, the 7th and 8th grades were moved to the new East Junior High School.
In 1995, Sugar Loaf’s front entrance was remodeled, along with the main building bathrooms and playground. The following year brought the new school bus entrance. A new lower grades building was begun in 2002 and completed in 2004. The old lower grades building was torn down in 2012 to make way for the new upper grades building, completed in 2014. Most recently, the school system completed repairs to the gymnasium.
In the past 15 years, the school system has spent a combined total of $2,080,97.72 in construction and repairs to the school.
The school produced three Award of Honor recipients among its staff: Joel Blackburn, Sallie Hartis, and Kay White.
Former Sugar Loaf students who came back and are now employees at the school are: Lisa Warren, Joan Meadlock, Kristen Fortner, Tammy Watts, Shonda Barnes, Debbie Lowe, Lori Overcash, Shea Chapman, Tracy Sigmon, and Randy Childers.
Dr. Jennifer Hefner, the Superintendent of Alexander County Schools, began her career at Sugar Loaf School as a bus driver and teacher assistant.
Currently, the school serves 225 students.
Principal Cary Cash told The Times, “Sugar Loaf School has always been the pride of the community. The school has achieved academic success throughout the years because of the parental support and the strong work ethic of its teachers and students.”