I went to a small Lookout (Fayette County), West Virginia, school called Nuttall. You can imagine the ribbing we took for that unusual name. We were called Nuttall because it was the only high school in the Nuttall District.

Nuttall District was formed in 1896. One of my ancestors once served as the district sheriff. The current Midland Trail High School at Hico (my birthplace) was created in 1976 by the consolidation of two schools - Ansted High (6 miles to the west) and Nuttall High (4 miles to the east.) But, I digress.

Nuttall was an exceptional high school, as you will see. As I remember, it was a two-story, rectangular brick building consisting of a library administered by Ms. Dolly Greiner; an auditorium, science lab, shorthand and typing lab, plus five or six regular-sized classrooms and a smaller classroom behind the principal's office. Coach Priester's classroom was downstairs, next to the furnace room.

Separate from the main building, we had a full-sized gymnasium, a wood shop and a band room.

With the exception of Ms. Ruth Manion (geography and social studies), my teachers at Nuttall were Ms. Rhoda Hofstetter (algebra), Mr. Wannie Gunnoe (geometry), Ms. Florence Croft (advanced English), Mr. Claude McGraw (freshman English) and Coach George Priester (civics and government). I attended Nuttall for my freshman and senior years and graduated with the class I started with in 1955. Many of our teachers had also taught our parents.

The Class of '59 was special. That year, Nuttall High School won the state football championship and, our "Senior Play" students took top awards at the state drama festival. That was the year, after a long drought, our band was being reorganized.

When I look back on our small Class of '59, I realize now that we were exceptionally well-prepared to go to college or into the work force. Several of our young women went to Washington, D.C., distinguishing themselves in government service. One became a speechwriter for Gov. Cecil Underwood.

The Class of '59 produced a professor of criminology who helped write a college-level text on the subject. He taught at Marshall University for a period of time. The class produced elementary and secondary-level teachers, a Farm Bureau extension agent, career military men, a writer, ministers, business persons including a bank president, and many exceptional husbands, wives and parents.

One interesting story. When I went to Berea College (Kentucky), I took a course called English Composition. When the professor returned my first paper, he said, "I see by your excellent command of grammar you had McGraw at Nuttall." I was flabbergasted; but as time passed, I learned that Claude McGraw was known far and wide for his excellence in teaching English grammar.

I don't want to be remiss in mentioning at least one accomplishment from the class of '60 - a college president!

I'm proud to "toot the horn" of that little high school nestled between Gauley and Sewell mountains. Long may her teachers, her staff and her students be remembered.

Milt Hankins is a theologian, former pastor and local author. His website is columnistwithaview.com.


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