When someone thinks about East Forsyth High school, they might think about an abundance of things, like the football team, the busy walkways, the Eagle mascot, and the colors navy and white. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, East Forsyth used to only have four buildings, a single gym, and two fields (one for baseball and the other for football).
East Forsyth first opened its doors in 1962, with Fred E. Lewis Jr. as the principal. East Forsyth was created to unite three different communities who were bitter athletic rivals: Kernersville, Walkertown, and Glenn. Lewis had assembled a series of staff together. A few notable people being Maxine Blackwell, the chorus teacher who wrote the Eagles fight-song, Carl Clarke, the football coach, Jack Musten, the baseball coach, and Jack Blaylock, the basketball coach.
Steve Roberson, a man who was a part of East Forsyth’s sixth graduating class, describes what high school was like for him and how it’s changed today. “It was a great experience,” he said. “Our principal, Mr. Fred Lewis, created a family atmosphere that unified everyone as a family and it was great. I’m still close friends with a lot of people that I met in high school. I don’t believe that today at East, from an outsider’s view, that they have that love for each other or just that community spirit that we had.”
Achieving this spirit within the school took a lot of work, starting with committees who gathered together before the students even arrived at East. These committees came up with the mascot, the fight-song, the Alma Mater, and the school colors. The school came up with a mascot relatively easily. The Eagle was a patriotic and powerful symbol, and the E in East Forsyth went along with the E in Eagle. Maxine Blackwell handled the school’s fight-song and Alma Mater. The only remaining decision to be made was the school’s colors.
The students and staff from Walkertown and Glenn had the colors red and white, and the students from Kernersville wore maroon and gold. Everyone assumed that surely East’s colors would involve some kind of red, yet somehow we ended up with navy and white. The East Forsyth High School page proclaims that the original colors chosen were orange and royal blue, but after painting the old gym lobby’s walls these colors, they changed their minds.
Richard Sapp, a previous East Forsyth student who graduated in 1982 and the current Bible History and AP U.S. History teacher at East, explains his experience at East and the changes that the school has undergone over the years. “I remember East being a wonderful place to go to school. Everybody seemed to get along really well; we had a good balance of folks here at East. We only had two grades during the time that I attended East as a student. They were 11th and 12th grade. We also could go off of campus for lunch and take our time and socialize with other people. Plus we had a smoking area, where a ton of people would crowd around this tiny little smoking area and smoke.”
Yes, you read that right, there used to be an actual place where kids could go and smoke on campus before school, after school, and even during lunch. But if you were caught smoking anywhere else, you were immediately suspended from school. Even when students had their own little smoking corner, students would still go into bathrooms and smoke. Some things never change, do they?
East Forsyth High School has grown immensely from the time it began until now. When the school first opened, it had about 200 students, and now we are just under 2,000. Some buildings were torn down or restored, while others have hardly changed. We’ve built new buildings, added another gym, and created better fields. But for many in the community, East will be remembered as a 200-student campus with just four buildings.