Fifth District A&M School
The University of Georgia provided a scan of the 1916-17 Announcements. A 1916 ERIC bulletin entitled The District Agricultural Schools of Georgia provides the history and programs of the eleven schools. The Atlanta Constitution covered athletic events for the “Monroe Aggies.”
In 1906 the Georgia legislature established an agricultural high school in each of the state’s eleven congressional districts to fill a gap between the rural elementary schools and the state college of agriculture. The fifth district school at Monroe, like most, opened in 1908. Curricula were uniform across the 11 schools. In addition to a principal and a matron, the faculty included an agriculture teacher, a science teacher, a math teacher, an English/history teacher and a domestic science teacher. A rural schools teacher training program was added around 1915. The Announcements show that the Monroe school had also added a teacher of commercial subjects and and a music teacher along with the pedagogy instructor.
Students were required to do 20 hours of work on the farm or campus each month. They also were required to attend daily chapel and weekly Sunday services.
According to the Georgia Tech Alumnus, Fifth District Agricultural and Mechanical School was closed around 1933. At that time football coach/athletic director David Irenus “Red” Barron leased the campus and converted it to the private Georgia Vocational and Trades School. With Barron as president, G.V.T.S. operated successfully until its closure in 1941.
From the daily schedule that appears in the ERIC bulletin, it appears that Freshmen and Juniors took academic classes in the morning, while Sophomores and Seniors were taking their agriculture and domestic science classes. After lunch the two groups exchanged schedules.
From 72 students in 1908, Fifth District had grown to 150 students—98 males—in 1914, making it the second largest of the district schools. Eligible students had to be 14 years of age (males) or 13 (females).
Students has access to two literary societies—Henry W. Grady for males and Ellen Axson for females. The Announcements notes musical programs from time to time and an annual operetta.
The district schools held annual literary, industrial, and athletic competitions. Literary contests included essay writing, music, spelling, recitation, declamation, recitation, and debate. Industrial contests included stock judging, plowing, corn judging, cooking, sewing, poultry judging, butter making and grooming. Athletic contests were regular track and field events.
The Ellen Axson Literary Society. Image from the Announcements, Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries.
Bricks and Mortar
Monroe, a town of 3,000 located southeast of Atlanta, provided 250 acres of land and $31,000 to locate the Fifth District school there. The ERIC bulletin reported that since the district colleges all originated from the same congressional act, “the buildings were all designed by the same architect.” The Academic Building was a two-story brick structure, costing $16,500. The ground floor contained two classrooms, two labs, a library, a study hall, offices, lavatories, and a cloakroom. The second floor contained an auditorium seating 400 and two large recitation rooms. The building featured a two-story portico.
The boys’ dormitory was also a two-story brick structure. It housed 72 students in 36 bedrooms with eight bathrooms and twelve toilets. Initially girls were housed in a frame building, replaced in 1916 by a brick structure matching that of the boys. All buildings had electric lights.
The Announcement shows a concrete silo built by students.
Sanborn Fire Insurance map of the Monroe A&M campus in 1915. Image is courtesy of Library of Congress.
Team name: Aggies
In 1920 Fifth District A&M became a member of the new Georgia Interscholastic Athletic Association, joining Boys’ High School and Tech High School of Atlanta, Riverside Military Academy of Gainesville, Georgia Military College of Milledgeville, Gordon Institute of Barnesville, and Lanier High School of Macon. This organization sponsored football, track, baseball and basketball. A major basketball tournament was held each spring.
In 1924 Georgia Tech All-America halfback “Red” Barron became coach and athletic director at Monroe. In fourteen seasons, he established the Aggies as a power in the G.I.A.A, winning the football championship in 1938
The Announcements show a girls’ basketball team with a faculty director. By 1919 the Constitution records a game with Covington High School. In 1924 the Aggie girls participated in the Northeast Georgia basketball championship.
The 1930 Aggies with the boys' dormitory in the background. Coach "Red" Barron is in the back row (left). Image is courtesy of the Monroe Museum.