History of Roland Schools
The Roland Public School system has an impressive and historical past. Nestled in the heart of the small town of Roland, Oklahoma stands the Roland Public Schools. The Roland Public School system is located on a 45 acre campus in the center of Roland The Roland School district is made of a kindergarten, lower elementary, an upper elementary, a middle school, and a high school. The site contains the BEST educational facility in Sequoyah County.
The Roland School District has been an important part of the Roland Community since its conception in the 1890's. Prior to 1921-22, Roland only had a one room elementary school. It was located about 1/4 mile west of the present campus. Mr. J. H Dodson was the principal. Mr. Dodson believed that the citizens of Roland deserved a high school education, and he thought that they shouldn’t have to leave Roland to get it. At that time the students from the 9'h grade on were going to Muldrow. Through the pioneer work of Mr. Dodson, Roland High School became a reality, and in 1921, the high school doors were opened to the youth of the community. Because Mr. Dodson had worked so hard and done so much to make the high school a reality, in 1921, he became the first superintendent of Roland Public School System.
Through the efforts of Mr. Dodson and the School Board, which consisted of Mr. Klingsmith, Mr. Bill LeWellyn, and Mr. Wallace Clark, land was obtained for the new school from Mr. S. S. Dorcus. The building was designed by Mr. Klingsmith, and was erected by the men of O’Neal and Drake Construction Company. The new brick building consisted of eight classrooms, a library, an office, and an auditorium.
From 1921-1929 Mr. Dodson worked diligently to establish a good educational system. His work paid off and he thought it was time to turn the leadership over to someone else. He resigned as superintendent at the end of the 1929 school year.
In the 1930's, Roland School system continued to expand under the leadership of S. F. Kirk 1930-34, Jack Kisner 1934-36, C. J. Stanley 1937-38 and in 1939 once again Mr. J. H. Dodson was appointed superintendent, 1939-40. During the 1930's Roland Schools continued to expand. This decade saw the addition of a gymnasium, which was made possible through a bond issue, and the work of the WPA. Also during this time, a two room rock building was constructed in the southwest corner of the campus. These new rooms were used to house the primary grade classrooms.
In the winter of 1938, disaster struck. Afire broke out and destroyed the brick school building. Following the fire, classes were doubled up in the primary building, while others met for class in the dressing rooms of the gymnasium. Because there was still a lack of classroom space, some classes were held in the First Baptist and Union Churches. Immediately after the fire, work began to replace the burned building, and once again the WPA was there to help out. The new building was made of rock, and consisted of nine classrooms, a large study hall with an adjoining library, an office, an auditorium with dressing rooms, and our first indoor bathrooms.
As the town grew and expanded in the 1940's, so did the school. Many things happened to Roland School system during the 40's. At the end of the 1939-40 school year Mr. Dodson resigned as superintendent. At the beginning of the 1940-41 school year, Mr. R. Guy Scott began his tenure as superintendent of Roland schools. He held this position until the end of 1951. The faculty grew in the 1940's, expanding from seven teachers at the beginning of the decade to twenty by decades end. Due to the growth, a commerce department was added, and later home economics and shop were added to the curriculum. During most of the 40’s the elementary was housed in converted army barracks. With the retirement of Mr. Scott in 1951, Mr. James Humphrey became superintendent of Roland Schools.
Mr. Humphrey was instrumental in implementing choir and band to the curriculum. Additional land was purchased, a new stadium was built and in 1965-66, football returned to Roland Public School system.
In December of 1967, disaster struck again. Fire gutted the beautiful rock school building. This fire unfortunately, was much worse than the fire of '38. Determined not to let this tragic event ruin the school year, Mr. Humphrey and the School Board made arrangements to continue the school year. During the troubling times, the metal Ag building was divided into classrooms, and Ag classes were held in the old dirt floored shed next to the old primary building. Some elementary classes doubled up and met in the primary building, while other high school classes, met in the elementary building. Plans had been in the making to erect a new elementary building, but after the fire, federal funds earmarked for the elementary building were transferred to the building of a new high school.
After the arrangements had been made to continue school Mr. Humphrey retired as superintendent, and in January of 1968, Mr. Claude Eubanks was promoted from high school principal to Superintendent of Roland Schools. Mr. Eubanks and the School Board completed the plans for the new high school. Mr. Eubanks ended his tenure at the end of the 1970-71 school year. At this time Mr. Carl Matlock was promoted from principal to superintendent.
Under the superintendency of Mr. Matlock, the community as well as the school continued to grow and expand. Mr. Matlock, with the help of the School Board, had a new wing added to the high school. During this time, a new band room was constructed as was a new Jr. High Building and a gymnasium. A new cafeteria, classrooms, and a elementary building were also built. Extensive remodeling was also done across campus. Work was done to expand the stadium, the superintendent's office, the shop building, and the Ag building. Mr. Matlock also had tennis courts erected, blacktopped the parking areas, and acquired twenty-five acres of land for school expansion.
Mr. Matlock was dedicated to seeing Roland Schools become the finest public school system in the county. Due to this desire, Roland School during the 1979-80 school year was accepted into the North Central Association for the first time in school history. Mr. Matlock thought this was an important part of becoming Sequoyah County's best school system.
The community continued to grow and as the town grew, so did the school. Under the insightful leadership of Mr. Matlock, with full endorsement of the School Board, the school launched a massive building program. Under this program, a total of ten buildings were erected across the campus. The new buildings included: a Performing Arts Center; a gymnasium field house, Jr. High Gym, which contains a weight room that can be used for non-varsity physical education. A new cafeteria, Kindergarten, and Ag buildings were also added. Under this new building program the football stadium and press box were remodeled. The streets and parking lots to and within the campus were resurfaced.
Mr. Matlock resigned at the end of 1987.
Mr. Matlock had made Roland School one to be proud of. At this time, high school principal, Mr. S. Gary Lattimore accepted the job of interim superintendent until Mr. Matlock’s replacement could be found. Mr. Lattimore served to April 12, 1988, and at that time, Mr. Carl Matlock came out of retirement to serve as superintendent. Mr. Matlock ended his second term June, 1989. In July 1989, Mr. Howard Harrell was selected to be the new superintendent.
Under Mr. Harrell, the school continued to grow. The elementary was growing by leaps and bounds. New classrooms and a new gymnasium to house the elementary physical education classes were built. More additions were needed. A bond issue made possible the construction of six elementary classrooms, three classrooms and nine labs at the Jr. High. Also, a new modern cafertorium. New modern baseball and softball fields were erected and put into use.
At the end of May 2001, Mr. Howard Harrell decided to retire. He left with a legacy of contributing 33 years as an educator. The last 13 years he served as superintendent of the Roland Schools. Mr. Randy Wood was selected to be the new superintendent for the year 2001. Since the school was growing so rapidly there was a need for an assistant superintendent. Mr. Bryce Dalke filled this position unti1 2003. Mr. Larry Henson, a Roland Native and graduate, class of 1975 was selected to serve as assistant Superintendent and Special Ed supervisor. Mr. Wood was no stranger to the Roland community or the school system. Roland School is "SPECIAL GROUND" for Mr. Wood and he has many fond "MEMORIES" of RHS. He is a native of Roland, and a former graduate RHS, class of 1971. While in school he was very active in sports, academics, community service, and he was a "STRONG LEADER ". Mr. Wood said, "Roland is a excellent school, and that he came into a situation where the school is in good shape”. Wood’s philosophy as an administrator is that" He doesn't necessarily operate from a hierarchy, but from a network where he is the center where things come across him instead of from the top down". Mr. Wood is dedicated to the continued growth and excellence of RHS. Under the guidance of Mr. Woods the Roland School system keeps improving. Improvements have been implemented across the campus, including a new administration building.
With the continued growth of the community, more classes have been added to the curriculum to better serve the students who walk the halls of Roland School. The students have a wide variety ranging from difficulty from basic core classes to honor classes, advanced placement, and distance learning from CASC in Poteau. Roland High School has also produced five Academic All State Students. At the present time the school is accredited for 91 units. Along with the academic courses offered the school competes in contests in football, basketball, softball, forensics, band, chorus, quiz bowl, agriculture, and technology. The school has an 80 member high school marching band and non-varsity physical education is also offered. The Roland School system has a strong commitment to make productive students of its approximately 1270 students. The school employs about 150 people. This number includes 100 certified teachers and 50 support personnel. They all work to make the students of Roland Schools the smartest people in the area. This is reflected in the high finish in academics contests all across the area and state.
This history was written and revised in 2008, by Lenna Perceful Henson, Class of 1949.
Update of the Roland School District History September 30, 2009
With the rapid growth of the Roland Community and the Roland School District, there was a need to put a bond out to the people for new classrooms and other facilities. On September II, 2007, The Roland Community, The Roland School District, and the Roland School Board voted for the Building Bonds, and the Transportation Equipment Bonds With a great "BIG" YES ... With the passage of this Bond the community has taken an important step forward in the improvement of the Roland School District, and the education of the students of the Roland Schools.
The 18,000 square foot high school addition officially opened Monday, August 31, 2009. Included in this addition are: three Science Classrooms, a large Science Lab, which will enhance the students' hands on experience relating to what they learned in the classroom. A commons area, this is a place for Roland High School students to congregate in the mornings, during break, lunch hour, and after school. The tables create an area where students can do homework, eat, or just relax and hang our with their friends ... The 55 inch LCD television mounted on the wall notifies the students of important events, announcements and etc.
There are two access hallways. One hallway joins the commons area to the South hall between the former principal's office and the counselor's Office ... The other one was created from space taken from a classroom in the west hallway. The new buildings also have a concession area and bathrooms with outside access for use during home football games ... Also, there are four high school offices located in the southeast comer of the commons area.
- Mr. Randy Wood and Mr. Larry Henson are doing a good job of leading the students at Roland High School in the 215t century. They are very proud of the high school and hope to continue to provide educational programs that enable all students to LEARN, ACHIEVE, SUCCEED, and TO BECOME PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS, and TO PREPARE FOR THEIR FUTURE. They recognize the diversity of NEEDS and ASPIRATIONS among the students, and they are COMMITTED to the development of each individual as a SUCCESSFUL, RESPONSIBLE, and PRODUCTIVE Citizen Who will be prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
The schools in Roland are proud to reflect the community in which they serve as educational institutions. As we look back over the history of the Roland School System, a lot has been accomplished, but there is still a lot to be done. We are PROUD of our PAST and excited about our FUTURE. Each and everyone walks through the doors of the school determined to make the FUTURE as bright as the PAST. I believe that Mr. J. H. Dodson would be proud of how far the Roland Schools have come over the past 87 years.
This history was written and revised September 1, 2009 by Lenna Perceful Henson, Class of 1949.
||R. Guy Scott
||Carl D. Matlock
||Carl D. Matlock