The second high school in Fayete County is McIntosh High School, opening in 1982 with just freshmen and sophomores. Good idea.
I was appointed as the official county historian in 1981 and it certainly did not include naming new schools. I felt very strongly that they should be named for old schools that had been here in the past or a family name very meaningful to the county. I thought McIntosh High sounded most appropriate due to our county history and the school superintendent agreed. The plans for the school on the drawing board simply referred to it as West Fayette High. More on this later.
At that time Chief Dode McIntosh, as I previously mentioned, would come to the Scottish Highland Games at Stone Mountain each October. In that first fall, I asked the school principal permission to have him come and speak to the students and he gave that permission. I also asked that it be filmed, unfortunately this request was not met.
I don’t remember where I picked Chief Dode up, but I sure remember driving him to the new McIntosh High School.
I had asked to allow him to speak for a half hour. The students were all brought in the cafeteria and I introduced the speaker. The students were so enthralled that they wouldn’t let him go for almost two hours. When we returned the next fall the students gave him a white school sweater with its green emblem on the pocket. It is still treasured in his family.
When the students finally realized they just had to let him go and get on with the days lessons, Chief Dode took a hundred dollar bill out of his wallet and presented it to the sophomore class president.
I took him each fall in 1982, 1983 and 1984. Each year he would take out a hundred dollar bill and present it to the junior and then senior class presidents. That first hundred dollar bill was framed at that time and still hangs near the principal’s office. When the chief died, I was afraid that the school thought I would continue those yearly gifts – fortunately they did not.
About that same time, Chief Dode wrote a nice hand written letter to the school and sent it to me. I typed its contents on a separate piece of paper and then had the two pages placed in a nice frame. I am pleased to say that it also is still hanging in the school lobby.
Now again referring to the name given the school in its planning stage, West Fayette High. Twenty years after the school had opened, one of those original 1982 sophomores called me and related an interesting piece of information – it seems those first freshmen and sophomore’s were under the impression that was going to be the name of their new school, and had already purchased clothing with that name on them.
To say that they weren’t too pleased with me, is probably an understatement. But I’m willing to bet that after being around Chief Dode McIntosh a number of times, they accepted this name for their new school.