Coffee County Training School/Coppinville High School Alumni Association members and Enterprise City Schools members gathered at Coppinville Junior High School for the unveiling of a new eagle installment on Feb. 10.
The new eagle made by Replica Plastics in Dothan was commissioned by the CCTS/CHSAA and is based on the original design of the school’s mascot.
The mount for the eagle was welded by Enterprise High School students led by Josh Ritcher and the cast stone and marble base was laid by mason students led by Mickey German as well.
CCTS/CHSAA President Pinkie McSwain spoke at the unveiling.
“Our journey started back in the 1800s when black people first started settling in this area, Coffee County,” McSwain said. “And has continued even with the change of the names of the school. Even though it’s a junior high school now, our history is here. Our kids need to know where they came from because how can you continue your legacy if you don’t know where you came from. And we thank you Coppinville Junior High School for helping us to keep this legacy alive and as long as you have a CCTS/CHS Alumni Association member alive, we’re going to continue to keep it going.”
CCTS/CHSAA Member and County Commissioner Jimmy Jones also spoke at the event.
“An eagle represents spirit, hope and faith,” Jones said. “The eagle is spoken of twice in the Bible in Revelations and it’s always on the side of God. May this vision of this eagle inspire students for generations to come. Thank you Miss (CJHS Principal Debbie) Hope for your administration and your help to continue the Coppinville tradition.”
Principal Hope stood up and discussed how the new eagle enforces the sense of pride the school sets in its students.
“We often talk with our students about the rich heritage that took place at Coppinville and as well as pride,” Hope said. “If you take a walk around our building you’ll see many signs with the acronym, ‘P.R.I.D.E.’ This is just one more opportunity for us to have to instill that pride in them. Again, alumni without you it wouldn’t be possible so thank you very much.”
Enterprise City Schools Superintendent Greg Faught also took a moment to thank everyone on behalf of the board.
“It is an honor to unveil this extraordinary, magnificent, splendid work of art that’s going to adorn this school for years to come,” Faught said.
While the eagle can be traced back to sometime in the 1940s, the school’s history, which can be found on the school’s website, goes all the way back to 1880 where Mt. Zion Baptist Church served as the school for the first African American settlers of Coffee County. Then in the 1890s, the New Zion A.M.E. Church was formed in two groups, the Old Fellows for men and the Ruth for women.
These two societies constructed a two-story building where the first floor served as the school. Then between 1903 and 1905, a group formed a trustee board with the purpose of expanding the memes of education. As the members of the church began building homes in the area, it became known as “Coppinville” in recognition of the presiding A.M.E. Bishop of Alabama, Levi Jenkins Coppinville.
In this new area three-tenths of an acre was set aside for a school called Pryor’s Insitute and was financially backed by the A.M.E. Church.
The group on the north side of Enterprise-Daleville road at the time built the Southeast Alabama Industrial School. Both schools ran separately for three or four years until the two consolidated to seek state funds.
So in 1918, the Coffee County Training School was opened by six teachers, Principal E.H. Tindell, A.B. Edwards, M.A. Green, H.S. Green, M.P. Allen and Lue B. Allen. The school served first through eighth graders. In 1920, ninth grade was added with 1922 serving as the first year boys were recruited for football under principal John Dobbs.
The school continued to grow with a PTA established in 1930 and the school becoming a senior high school in the 1930-1931 school year.
On Feb. 28, 1938, the school was destroyed by a fire and the students used Pleasant Grove Church and New Zion Church as school buildings. The trustees then purchased land from J.E. Nance to build a new school.
In 1940, the school served first through twelfth grade and its attendance increased dramatically. In 1945 the school purchased its first school bus and a lunchroom was built.
In 1949 the school was split and CCTS became a junior and senior high school with the elementary students moved to Enterprise Academy, now known as Carroll Street Elementary School.
In 1959, CCTS was renamed Coppinville High School. A new brick building was constructed that the students moved into starting in September of 1960. The last graduating class was 1969 with desegregation moving students to Enterprise High School on Watts Street.
The school was then turned into a junior high school and then a seventh grade school. During the 2015-2016 year, Coppinville Junior High School became a seventh and eighth grade junior high school. In the fall of 2018, it moved out of the campus it held since 1960 and into its new campus on Boll Weevil Circle.