A Short History of Flagler County High Schools

Flagler County was established in 1917 as was Bunnell High School. It was an all-white school. Blacks were forbidden to attend. It would not be until 1949 when George Washington Carver High School was built that a K-12 education was available to the black community. Of course, Carver was an all-black school.
Whites did not want to attend. Flagler County history in education is not unlike many counties and states across our country. It does have an interesting story of how black kids and white kids finally attended the same forever high school.
It was 1954 when the Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that U.S. State laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, even if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality. In 1967, 13 years later, George Washington Carver was closed and all students, black and white, attended Bunnell High School.
For two years, 1968-1970, students arrived at Bunnell High School until the summer it burned down. Fortunately, Flagler had a spare high school, and everyone was moved to George Washington Carver in 1971 to 1973. The high school, however, was renamed Bunnell High School. They stayed there in some trying circumstances but not because of race, it was just too small. Students were taking classes in closets and on the stage.
On 20 acres of land donated by ITT the Palm Coast Flagler High School opened in 1973 and students would never be segregated again. The students were ready for it. It’s possible that many went to three high schools in the same town before graduating.
It’s fun to be first and the first graduating class of FPCHS were as thrilled as we were back in the day.
Interesting Notes:

  • Bunnell Elementary School the site of almost 100 years of continuous educational instruction. The Bunnell Hight School, was built in 1924 and burned in 1970. Bunnell Elementary School was built in its place.
  • George Washington Community Center was once the gym of the George Washington Carver High School.
  • The Espanola Schoolhouse 1950-1957 was a segregated black-only Flagler County public school during the Jim Crow era. It later operated as an independent school. It still stands and is on the National Register of Historical Markers.
  • The Little Red School House was never a one-room schoolhouse. It is on the National Register of Historic Places (2007) and is a fabulous museum.
  • Prior to 1917 there were several one room schoolhouses.
  • I.I. Moody build a school even before Flagler was incorporated.
  • So much history.
    How far have we come?
    Our school system serves over 13,000 students. There are two high schools, Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas High School and five elementary and two middle schools. There are also alternative schools, iFlager Virtual School K-12th, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School Pre-K-8, and the Imagine Charter School.