EDITOR'S NOTE: The Tanner Preservation Committee continues its work to
rescue and preserve the historic Tanner School, one of the few Rosenwald
Schools remaining in America. Several former students at the institution have
shared their memories of their school days there, along with a brief
description of their lives afterwards. In observance of Black History Month,
the Tanner Preservation Committee has shared several of these autobiographical
sketches with us.
Dorothy Nichols Llewellen
In 1961, the Tanner High School graduating class included
pretty Dorothy Nichols, who was voted the "Girls with the Prettiest
Eye" while a student there.
In 2012, Dorothy celebrate her 70th birthday, and family
and friends signed a photo of her taken from the Tanner High annual of that
Dorothy still resides in Newport and remembers her days
when Professor Rakestraw served as Tanner's principal.
Charles 'Rabbit' Swagerty
Charles 'Rabbit' Swagerty's student days were all spent
at Tanner under the direction of Isaac Rakestraw, principal, and such dedicated
teachers as "Mr. Douglas, Ms. Franklin, Mrs. Irene G. Smith, and Ms. May
He remembers his graduating class consisted of 13
After high school, Swagerty became a teacher and coach,
"I have taught all grade levels from kindergarten through college,"
said Swagerty, "with 42 years of teaching and 32 years of coaching
football, wrestling, and track."
He spent six summers as Greeneville, Tennessee's Director
In 2010, he and his wife of 42 years both retired from
teaching. They have four children and currently reside in South Haven, Michigan
and Greeneville, Tennessee.