The following article appeared in the June 4, 1875 issue of the Jackson Sun newspaper.

Pinson High School Commencement

The commencement exercises of the above school, which closed last week, were highly interesting throughout. Wednesday and Thursday were entirely devoted to the examination of the classes. This was done thoroughly and systematically, and hence the proficiency shown by the students, was conclusive of careful, painstaking and intelligent instruction. The school building, although large, was too small to entertain the crowds which gathered each day, increasing in size and interest to the close.

On Friday and Friday night the village was literally thronged with visitors, so much so that the evening’s exhibition was given under a vast arbor, and the announcement made that every dwelling in the town was open for the entertainment of guests. The Henderson brass band enlivened the occasion with their most choice selections of music, which with the fair young women present and the exercises, conspired to make the day one of the shortest in the memory of those present. It is impossible to speak in detail of the proficiency of the individual members of each class examined, but it is gratifying to us to be able to state generally, that all the classes acquitted themselves with credit, exhibited close and thorough training, and retired from the crucible of an incisive “cross examination,” amid the applause of delighted parents and friends.

Friday was devoted to addresses before the school and preparation for the grand closing exhibition at night. The first address was delivered by the Rev. A.J. FAWCETT, of Humboldt, a young man, but one well posted. He spoke for about forty minutes, and was listened to with respectful attention. It was evident that he struck the right key, in making the necessity of “thorough knowledge” the basis of his remarks. He insisted with much force that “knowing” was the necessary foundation of success, no matter what the calling in life, and that education to be profitable must be thorough as far as it goes. Mr. FAWCETT’s speech was highly complimented by all who heard him, and at its close he was warmly congratulated.

The Rev. E.C. SISTER, D.D., of this city, was the next speaker. It is impossible to do justice to his effort. It was forcible, stinging, eloquent and amusing. He made the “natural sciences” the basis of his remarks and argued with power and eloquence that science confirmed the Bible. He impressed upon the students the importance of this branch of learning in all the relations of life, and gave many very forcible illustrations of his argument. It was indeed a very fine effort and delighted as well as instructed his bearers. After the Doctor returned his seat, Col. J.D. OZLER, of Henderson, made a few very eloquent remarks, which were enthusiastically cheered. Mr. Charles ROGERS, of Pinson, was then called on and although unprepared, spoke for ten minutes with much good sense. Mr. Rogers., is a son of our esteemed friend, Esq. A.S. ROGERS, and is a young man of fine promise.

At Night

The afternoon exercises closed about three o’clock and from that time until dark, the vast crowd dispersed over the village, some seeking amusement, some amusement, some preparing for the night’s exercises, some in listening to the music of the band, while others stole off into the adjacent groves and enjoyed themselves strolling over the green award and listening to their own voices, whose music was doubtless far sweeter just then and there, than the music of band or birds. By early candle lighting the large arbor in rear of the school house was filled to overflowing with anxious spectators. The band played several charming pieces and then the curtain rose on the evening’s entertainment. This exhibition of charades, dialogues, declamations and original essays and speeches by the more advanced students, all interspersed with appropriate music.

It was after twelve o’clock when the entertainment closed, and yet the interest never fagged for a moment, and there was no complaint of weariness or want of interest. In the dialogues and charades, although each participant performed creditably, yet especial praise should be awarded the younger boys and girls. We never saw better acting by young amateurs, or elocution more creditable than by these young folks on Friday night. The declamations also were finely rendered, several of the declamers exhibiting many of the undeveloped graces of the orator. But the most interesting and suggestive feature of the evening was the original essays by the advanced young ladies and the delivery of original speeches by the advanced young men. The actors upon this higher stage of effort and excellence were crowned by their auditors with the laurels of merit and retired amid showers of boquets [sic] and rounds of applause.

Original Essays

The following young ladies were the essayists of the occasion: Miss Ellen JOHNSON, subject – “Whatever Thy Hand Findeth to do, do With all Thy Might;” Miss Sallie CHERRY, subject – “What Constitutes a Perfect Man;” Miss Lucy CHERRY, subject – “The History of Pinson;” Miss Sallie JOHNSON, subject – “There is no excellence Without Labor;” Miss Anna MAYS, subject – “Criticism.” Each subject was handled with grace and elegantly read; and highly interesting and instructive withal.

 Original Speeches

The following young gentlemen were the orators of the evening: John C. MORRE, subject – “Onward and Upward;” William RIPLEY, subject – “The Errors of the South;” B.T. RICHARDSON, subject – “Education;” Ambrose MCCOY, subject – “Time;” W.C. ELLIS, subject – “Where There is a Will There is a Way.” The conception and grasp of his subject, the thought and wealthy of illustration, the eloquence of diction and grace of delivery displayed by each of the young men mentioned, evidenced research and fine mental training. We cordially congratulate both them and the young lady essayists upon the brilliant and promising success of their first efforts in the field of literacy and forensic effort.

The Dinner

We have not yet mentioned the splendid dinner spread on Friday at noon. As celebrated as the people of the Pinson country are for hospitality and good living, the dinner referred to surpassed any of their former achievements. A glance at the wondrous collection of rich viands which overflowed the long wide tables, was sufficient to dispel all thought of hard time, and to revive the memory those rare, old-time feasts of which our fathers never weary of describing. Indeed we never did duty at a more splendid feast, and our extreme modesty alone preserved us from overloading. And what made it all the more enjoyable, was the fact that it was served by the kindest and most entertaining ladies, whose smiles and repartees and sweet encouragement was the sparkling wine of the occasion. To those fair and graceful ones, who looked after our well-being, we hereby tender most grateful and admiring thanks.

The School

As a fitting conclusion is an article intended to outline a most interesting, instructive and enjoyable occasion, we will now speak of the school itself. Pinson High School was founded by Prof. J.C. WRIGHT, its present Principal, two years ago. It was opened in a small building ill-suited for the purpose, but the energy and efficiency of Prof. WRIGHT soon attracted public attention, scholars poured in from all directions, and the friends of the enterprise in and around Pinson were encouraged to build the present large and handsome structure. Thus inspired, Prof. WRIGHT redoubled his energy and in a few months a school of nearly one hundred and fifty scholars was the result. It is said of the Professor, by his neighbors and patrons, that he is a man of extraordinary energy – unwavering direction of purpose, and of a will that never halts or tires of dispairs. The splendid school which we are imperfectly sketching, is the result of these rare combinations, backed by learning and the possession in a high degree of the arts of discipline and imparting knowledge. No better evidence of the merit of a school is needed, than the confidence and pride of its patrons. This Prof. WRIGHT’s school enjoys in an eminent degree. From our own observation, we are fully prepared to rank it with the foremost and best preparatory schools of the day. The system of education is comprehensive, and yet thorough, elaborate, and yet painstaking, wide in its reach and yet minute in every important detail. It is also delightfully located in a rich country, surrounded by churches and good society, and is the pride of one of the prettiest and healthiest villages in the State. Thus circumstanced, and under the management of so competent and popular an educator, Pinson High School can but increase its usefulness, its influence for good, and its character as an institution of high rank.