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Silverdale Celebrates 65 Years
On December 12, Silverdale Elementary celebrated a 65-year history of educating students in its current location on Smith Road. However, according to community historians, Silverdale’s past goes as far back as post-Civil War times. According to St. Paul’s AME Church historian Antonio Powers, Freedmen living in Palo-Alto organized their congregation on the Ambrose Plantation after the civil war and operated a school there, The Silverdale Regular School.
This school continued to be operated by the St. Paul’s AME Church until it was absorbed in the Onslow County school system in the 1920s. As of 1945, the building was a two-frame structure without artificial lighting nor indoor plumbing but was nonetheless well cared for. The school was decommissioned when the original section of the present-day Silverdale School was completed in 1954. The church then used the school as a fellowship hall. Unfortunately, the original school structure sustained extensive damage from Hurricane Florence and was demolished.
In 1954 the construction of the New Silverdale cost $168,000 and hosted 11 classrooms, a library, teacher’s lounge, health room, principal’s office and a kitchen. All rooms had running water, closets, bookshelves, storage space and skylights. The enrollment was approximately 340 students.
Silverdale’s doors closed from 1969 to 1971 after the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision and redistricting after desegregation. During this time, the building was used by the senior citizens center to make quilts.
In 1971, the school reopened but had no supplies, as they had all been sent to a newly opened Summersill Elementary. In 1988, the 1950’s section was expanded. Two new buildings were constructed to meet the needs of Silverdale’s growth. These additional classrooms, a multipurpose room and a new library were created. Along the way, a newly constructed art room, music room and multipurpose room have been added.
Silverdale is a Leader in Me School, which is only fitting, as the school led the way by being the first Leader in Me School in Onslow County, the 4th in the state of North Carolina, and the 126th in the world to become a Covey Certified Lighthouse School.
Congratulations to Silverdale’s community, students, teachers and families on this momentous occasion!