In 1919, the school's Company of Cadets
Company K of the Memphis R.O.T.C. For the next six straight
years it will win the annual competitive drill in the city.
The government-sponsored Smith-Hughes program
which had only been added to the school two years ago, has
proved very popular and has caused "growing pains". A list of the 1920 graduates under this program in
"Vocational Teaching" appears in one article below.
On the list is a
lady who will become prominent in the history of Tech, Effie E. Wright.
There are others on this graduation who will become some of the original
teachers of Tech - A.M. Boyd, A. L. Ferguson, S. F. Liles, E. H. Smith, H.
H. Horton, J. B. Parker, and Ella Gill.
Note: Even though Effie E. Wright had already taught at the
Market Street School (Smith) in 1910, she enrolled in this
Smith-Hughes "Vocational Teaching" program to get a special
certificate (license) which enabled her to teach in any
vocational school in the US. It was the same with others
in this graduation group.
The Memphis newspapers will continue to refer to the school as
"Vocational High School", and sometimes, "Old Poplar Street
School", or even "Memphis High School".
Perhaps this is because they were so conditioned to this building
being the "Memphis High School building" since it was built
specifically for Memphis High School and that school did occupy the
building from 1898-1911. This is interesting because by the
time the school moved to the new Tech High School building in 1927,
the newspapers will have become so conditioned to calling this
building "the Tech Building", they will continue to call it "the
Tech Building" until it is demolished in 1964.
We are sure the legend started that Tech is the oldest school,
simply because it became so closely identified with the oldest high
school building in Memphis.
Fannie Lee Martin,
Mamie Lee Talbert,
A. M. Boyd,
A. L. Ferguson,
B. L. Hill,
S. F. Liles,
E. H. Smith,
H. H. Horton,
A. R. Gerhart,
J. B. Parker,
Clara Belle Gerhart, Ella Gill,
Effie E. Wright