Bethel School History:
The community of Bethel is located in a valley of western Watauga County bordered by Stone Mountain and Tennessee. The community was originally settled by the Farthing family in the mid 1800’s. There have been four school buildings at Bethel. The first building was a log structure built in the mid 1800’s (not on the current site). The second building also a wood structure was in use until 1923. Originally the school served as an elementary school and high school.
The third building was located on the current site originally constructed of wood, until 1935 when the Works Progress Administration provided much of the funding for a more permanent construction. The main building was completed in 1937. A gymnasium with a pot-belly stove was added in the early 1940’s, and a more modern gym was constructed in the 1970’s.
Bethel School has always been very much a community school and remains that way to this day. The facilities have served the community in a variety of ways over the years including such diverse activities as country singing, gospel singing, church services, even roller skating.
Dorcas Hodges is our local resident historian, She is our day porter and has been in this community all her life. Dorcas went to school at Bethel when it was a K-12 school. Dorcas wrote for the Bethel Storytelling project and the book is available at the Bethel School Library.
Today, Bethel is a thriving K-8 school with roughly 160 students and 1 teacher per grade level. Our School is still very much a center of activity for the community. One of the many innovative features of Bethel is our makerspace where students learn modern technology skills such as Minecraft, robotics and 3D printing as well as more traditional skills such as leggos, crocheting, and of course reading! We have a relatively young and enthusiastic staff who harnesses that youthful energy into inspiring our students for a life long love of learning and respect.
Other History of the Area: