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SHS History

Surrattsville Elementary and High School

The Surrattsville School was established on a county knoll, at what today is the intersection of Route 381 and Surratts Road. It was built shortly after the War between the States and most appropriately, the school colors were blue and grey. The school took the name of the community which was in the election district of Prince George's County named from the Surratt family. Mrs. Mary Surratt who was victimized and paid with her life in the hysteria following President Lincoln's assassination was from this family. The Board of Education minutes of August 14, 1906 read as follows: "ordered that Surrattsville School be hereafter run as a district high school and primary school combined at an additional cost not to exceed $400 per annum." Thus, the second high school in Prince George's County was authorized for the sum of $400. However, physical property needs of 1906 dictated a large shelter for 10 horses and buggies; two enlarged outhouses with extra accommodations; a new pump and well; and an increase in the campus to allow baseball to be played.

Early Historical Notes


9/25/1906 - Mr. Eugene Burroughs was appointed Principal at a salary of $500, raised to $800 in 1908. Mr. Burroughs became the Superintendent of Schools in 1914.

5/5/1914 - After Mr. Burroughs became the Superintendent, Mr. F. B. Gwynn was made Principal. Mr. Gwynn became the Superintendent of Schools in Chalres County in 1921.

8/16/1917 - Mr. J. A. Carrico was placed "at head of the elementary school"






9/25/1906 - Board ordered that "manual training" be taught.

1/21/1907 - Board ordered that "principal be allowed to establish a military organization at Surrattsville High School".

9/24/1907 - Board ordered that French be taught.

7/21/1908 - Board authorized a "Commercial Department".

10/5/1915 - Board ordered "Commercial to be dropped and that domestic science and agriculture be emphasized".




Physical Plant

3/21/1909 - Board ordered that a building committee of six people be appointed for the Surrattsville area.

7/11/1919 - Special meeting of the Board at Surrattsville to accept the building. THe old building sold at auction for $200.

9/2/1910 - Ordered that floors for Surrattsville High be oiled.

1/27/1911 - Ordered that $69.45 raised by pupils be used to grade the school grounds.

1/11/1927 - Board recommended a bond issue for an assembly hall. Part of the money was marked for inside plumbing and sanitary facilities.

This one building continued to serve the elementary grades of school for this area until after World War II when separate facilities were built for elementary, junior and senior high students.


Award of Diplomas

  • On May 14, 1907, the Board "ordered that diplomas be awarded to the graduates of the Surrattsville High School." There was only one graduate in 1907 and also one graduate in 1949 when the transition from 11 to 12 grades occurred.
  • One June 8, 1909, among the five graduates of Surrattsville was Avis Middleton (Thoms S. Gwynn, Jr.'s mother). She was the first of three generations to graduate from the same school. Thomas S. Gwynn, Jr. and his seven brothers and sisters graduated from Surrattsville High as have three of his children.
  • Miss MIddleton in the September following her graduation form the Surrattsville High School became the principal of the Forestville Elementary School.
  • One of the opening day daily rituals was to take the first three grades outside to the pump and have everyone clean his teeth. Little collapsible tin cups were used. This ritual focused on health habits.
  • A big job, sought by many pupils, was to go on top of the two-story building to lower the flag at the end of the school day. Actually, it enabled the selected students to leave the classroom a few minutes early in order to perform the chore.
  • The custodian had a favorite trick of telling the children he kept a bear in the dark, cavernous basement and to prove it, he would make it growl - which was done by shoveling the coal!
  • The chief games at lunch hour were "Fox and Dog" and "Prisoner's Base" - both entailing much running and pursuit. The big outside bell could be heard a half-mile and time was allowed for all to get to class.
  • After World War II, this school plant and its stie became the junior high as a new senior high was built one-half mile away and a new elementary building was built one-quarter mile away.

These "Facts About Surrattsville" appeared in the Clinton VFD Old Timers Club's 2006 calendar (along with lots of great historical photos of Clinton): 

"In 1869 it was a small white frame building with adjoining stable and outside plumbing fixtures.  In 1907, on June 3rd, Surratts had its first graduate, Blanche Teresa Hurtt.  In 1917 a new two story frame structure was built.  In 1919 the old school building was sold.  In 1948 two rooms were added to the two story frame.  In 1952 a new annex building, containing a modern cafeteria, multi-purpose room, gymnasium, home economics facilities, science lab and six classrooms, was added. 

School Colors: 1907: blue and gray; 1929: blue and gold; 1944: maroon and gold; 1950: green and white.  Yearbooks: 1929: The Blue and Gold; 1938: The Shield; 1944: Salmagundi (Spanish for mixture of things); 1946 - Present: The Boomerang. 

Alma Mater: written by Rosa Ferris in 1951.


  • Mr. Eugene Burroughs, 1898 - 1899, 1901, 1914;
  • Mr. Arthur Meloy, 1899-1901;
  • Mr. T. B. Gwynn, 1914-1918;
  • Mrs. MacKay, 1918-1922;
  • Mr. Summers, 1922-1927;
  • Mr. High, 1927;
  • Mr. Truman Klein, 1927-1942;
  • Mr. John Bond, 1942-1948;
  • Mr. John M. Pryde, 1948-1967;
  • Mr. Kalman J. Vozar, 1967-1970;
  • Mr. Donald Buck, 1971-1977;
  • Dr. Mildred Biedenkapp, 1977-1981;
  • Mr. Eugene Colgan, 1981-1993;
  • Mr. Robert Dredger, 1993-1995;
  • Mrs. Francis Collins, 1995-1998;
  • Mr. William Barnes, 1998-2005;
  • Dr. Alice Swift-Howard, 2005-2009;
  • Dr. Kristi Holden, 2009-2016;
  • Ms. Katrina Lamont, 2016-Present