The first school in North Carolina was established by the Quakers at Symonds Creek in 1705. The school was a small log cabin, and Charles Griffin, an Episcopalian minister, was the first schoolmaster. When Griffin left in 1708 to become a professor at the College of William and Mary, Reverend James Adams became the teacher. Although many financially able families hired tutors for their children, the only other known school in Pasquotank before 1763 was located in Nixonton. Aaron Morris was the schoolmaster. Between the Revolutionary War and the War Between the States, several academies were chartered by the General Assembly to provide private education. These schools were privately financed and manage. The three earliest academies in the county were Nixonton Academy, chartered in 1803; an academy in Elizabeth City, chartered in 1807; and Newland Academy, chartered in 1809. There is a lapse in county and state records until Calvin W. Wiley became the State Superintendent of Schools. In 1830 the county had seventy-eight students studying at two academies and grammar schools, and there were 108 students studying at five common schools. By 1850 the county had sixteen common schools with sixteen teachers instructing 640 pupils. In 1858 the county passed its first school tax of twelve cents per $100 of property valuation and thirty cents per poll. The total raised in taxes in 1858 was $2,159.87. A teacherís monthly salary was between twenty dollars and thirty dollars. By 1859 all the white students in the county were being provided educational opportunities. The Civil War and Reconstruction Period wrecked the educational system. The entire population was poor, and many of the existing schools were destroyed. In 1868 and 1869 legislation was passed which enabled the county educational system to be re-established, but it took until the early Twentieth Century to accomplish this. Education for white females and all black children was a private concern for many years during the Nineteenth Century and the early part of the Twentieth Century. Only Grammar School subjects were taught. School was usually held at a church or in a room in a house. Girls were taught by a woman. The first known school for Blacks was a red schoolhouse located near the corporate limits of Elizabeth City in 1879. The first known teacher in that school was Thomas Cardoza. The school's enrollment was 124 pupils. The enrollment doubled in a year. The school was called Colored Normal School and registered students from the primary grades through secondary and postsecondary education. Public education by 1880 was guaranteed for the elementary schools including all races and sexes. There were thirteen Negro schools at that time. S.L. Sheep led a movement to better education in this county and helped to establish the first graded school system in Pasquotank County in 1907. For the first time in history, a Pasquotank child could start in the first grade and go through high school in a free public school. The first building to house all grades was named for Sheep, who became the superintendent in 1909. This school did not admit Blacks. However, Blacks could receive education through the secondary level at Elizabeth City Normal School. In 1924 Elizabeth City High School was built. In this same year, P.W. Moore was built to be the high school for black students from both the city and the county. About the same time, three county secondary schools were established: Newland, Weeksville and Central. It should be noted that in 1933, the present primary building (Hattie Harney School) was completed. It was the first school building in the state of North Carolina built especially for primary children. The county schools were consolidated in 1925. Then Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County operated as two separate school systems until 1967 when the two units were merged into the present system. A bond referendum of $1,5000,000 made possible the construction of Northeastern High School in 1969. This is a comprehensive high school that replaced P.W. Moore High School, Elizabeth City High School and Central High School. In 1970 total integration, system-wide, was instituted. The establishment of attendance zones and the pairing of certain elementary schools were used to affect the integration process. N.C. school system buries capsule honoring education in the state By LAUREN KING, The Virginian-Pilot ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Pasquotank County Commissioner Cecil Perry offered himself as a time capsule for burial on Monday, but it was a white fiberglass box that went into the ground instead. During a ceremony on sunny Monday afternoon, the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools dedicated and buried a time capsule, ending a celebration of 300 years of education in the state. Celebrations of the local milestone and the progress of local education started with the beginning of the 2005-06 school year. The celebrations hinged on the opening of a school outside Weeksville in 1705. The Weeksville school was founded by Charles Griffin, the first known school teacher in North Carolina, according to the "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography," published by the University of North Carolina Press. As far as researchers know, the school was the state's first . The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction does not have enough information to confirm which county actually had the state's first public school, said Amie Aydlett, district spokeswoman. The state's tax-financed public school system did not begin developing until the Reconstruction Era, which began around the end of the Civil War. Perry, a retired educator and former Elizabeth City student, said he would make a good time capsule because he has been a part of the county's school system his entire life. "You could just bury me and dig me up in 25 years," Perry said. "Twenty-five years from now, call me up and let me help you dig up this capsule." The time capsule included items from each of the district's schools and several administrative departments. Some of the buried items included yearbooks, school logos, faculty/staff photos, a bell from the first Weeksville Union School, videotapes, a current school budget and a toy bus - from the Department of Transportation. The fiberglass box, sealed with a marine-grade sealant and decorated with stickers of the district schools' mascots and a 300th anniversary logo, was buried in a pre-dug hole in front of the administrative building on Halstead Boulevard. With the help of students of honor, dignitaries and school representatives, the box was moved from a table and into the hole . Craig Laughton, chairman of the time capsule committee, said there is no set time to unearth the capsule. The decision will be left to a future board of education and school administrative staff. A marker indicates the capsule's location, with the words, "300th Anniversary of the First School in North Carolina (1705-2005). ECPPS Time Capsule Dedicated and Buried April 2006."
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