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Whitebead History

According to Indian Legend, a Caddo Indian woman, Salvania, along with her son set up temporary camp west of Pauls Valley in the 1800's. Salvania was the leader of a band of Caddo Indians traveling from Louisiana through Oklahoma. She wore white beads. When other Indian tribes came to the area to trade, they had to receive her approval before trading. They began asking for her by the name "the Indian woman who wore white beads."

In 1868, the area was officially established as the Whitebead community. The town of Whitebead soon had stores, a post office, a blacksmith shop and a church. The first school was originally one long room divided in the middle by a red flannel curtain. In 1917 the main two-story school building was built. Carbide lights were used until electricity was brought into the community in 1935. The south half of the upstairs was used as the auditorium.

The first principal was Mr. Hayes who also taught the upper grades. Miss Bertie Johnson taught the lower grades.

The first gym, located west of the two-story building, was made of sheet iron.  Coal stoves were located on each end for heat. All of the children came to school on horseback. A large stable was west of the auditorium. The children kept their horses in the stable and went to the stable at lunchtime to water their horses.
In 1947, due to a decreased enrollment, Whitebead became a kindergarten through eighth grade school. Eighth grade graduates began to attend high school in other districts.

Whitebead School is the focal point of the community and provides opportunities that enhance the quality of life for community residents, parents and students. There exists a civic pride for the historic past and a commitment to the future of the school.

Today the nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School is still in a rural setting with a thriving enrollment of over 400 students. It provides an opportunity for parents to be involved in their child's education. The philosophy of the school is to provide a very positive atmosphere where emphasis is on self-discipline and to provide a safe environment to learn and to grow both physically and emotionally. Because the school is small, it has the luxury of doing something larger schools find difficult: It makes each child feel special and wanted. It enacts protective factors for each child in a way that only small groups of committed people can do.


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