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Educational Excellence, Through the Decades

Featured Photo from Educational Excellence, Through the Decades

Walk through a century of time at Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School as the community celebrates its centennial

It began as a small, wooden schoolhouse in a distinct Sanford neighborhood, one that boasts – even to this day – its own unique identity. Once only for black children, the school changed its name several times over the years, moved locations, stood proud and strong through the Civil Rights Movement, and welcomed racial integration. Eventually, the school blossomed into an expansive campus and became an integral part of the Seminole County Public Schools magnet program, a place where students of all backgrounds can excel in math, science, and technology.

From one transition to the next, Goldsboro Elementary’s milestone moments broke down barriers and primed the school for great success, even against great odds.

On November 4, the school will officially celebrate its 100th anniversary with an open house and a community parade involving teachers, students, and alumni.

But while 2016 is officially celebrated as the school’s 100th year, the exact date of its founding is a bit of a local mystery, says Francis Oliver, curator of the Goldsboro Historical Museum in Sanford and a graduate of Goldsboro Elementary. 

“In our museum collection, we have a Goldsboro Elementary School teacher’s register dated 1908 when Goldsboro was part of Orange County,” says Francis, “so the school must have opened sometime in the early 1900s. That’s why we’re really celebrating 100-plus years of Goldsboro Elementary.”

Stepping back even further in time, Francis paints a picture of the town of Goldsboro, the second all-black community in the State of Florida after Eatonville, which was founded in 1891.

“The original elementary school was located at the corner of 13th Street and Lake Avenue in Sanford and was fondly known in the community as the ‘Little Red School’ for second and third graders,” says Francis. “First graders went to school at a nearby church, and fourth through 12th graders attended classes at Crooms Academy. But in 1911, the township of Goldsboro lost its charter. The City of Sanford took over and eventually changed the name of the school to Sanford Primary School.”

A few years later, the school moved to 16th Street near its current location and housed grades 1 through 3. The schoolhouse consisted of four rooms and a lunchroom. In the mid 1950s – with the construction of the school’s first set of concrete buildings and the transfer of fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students from Crooms Academy to Goldsboro – the community gathered at a dedication ceremony to officially rename the school Goldsboro Elementary School.

As with the nation itself, and the South in particular, tumultuous but inspiring times were ahead for Goldsboro Elementary as the Civil Rights Movement made strides in the 1960s and ‘70s. When integration came to Seminole County, Goldsboro and Pine Crest elementary schools were merged by court order for a short time. Both schools offered integrated kindergarten classes, while Pine Crest handled grades one through three and Goldsboro took fourth and fifth.

In 1984, a trailblazing group called the Concerned Citizens took the Seminole County School Board to court to ensure Goldsboro and Crooms Academy had the opportunity to stand on their own as centers of educational excellence. That same year, school zones were realigned and Goldsboro Elementary once again became a K-5 facility. Soon after, additional buildings were added to the campus. The front of the school was reversed from 16th Street to 20th Street, and the school’s student population increased as a result of the district’s re-zoning program.

Roughly ten years later, in 1997, Goldsboro Elementary underwent yet another major transformation. It ceased being known simply as Goldsboro Elementary and emerged as Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School for math, science, and technology.

Along with curriculum and faculty changes, the former neighborhood school began servicing all of Seminole County.

Today, the school features a recently renovated, state-of-the-art campus that includes a math and bioscience lab, five cutting-edge technology labs, and an award-winning Kids Space Center.

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