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Sanderson authors history of Madison School

Author Cindi Sanderson receives a Alabama legislative commendation from Sen. Bill Holzclaw for her book, "Madison School - From the Beginning and Through the Years." CONTRIBUTED
Author Cindi Sanderson receives a Alabama legislative commendation from Sen. Bill Holzclaw for her book, “Madison School – From the Beginning and Through the Years.” CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – A strong belief in preserving the past and a ton of hometown pride motivated Cindi Whitworth Sanderson to author her book, “Madison School – From the Beginning and Through the Years.”

‘Madison School’ was located at 17 College St., site of today’s Madison Elementary School.

“I loved every minute of that research, even when I would hit a lot of dead ends,” Sanderson said. “I would just go in the next day and start again.” Sanderson recently retired after many years as bookkeeper at Madison elementary.

Sanderson started working on the book in June 2015 and completed it in April 2016. She perused all documents, photos and newspaper articles she had saved through the years, along with information the late Percy Keel had given to John Rankin.

“I reached out to several people … about stories I had heard, borrowed yearbooks, programs and anything else (related to) Madison School,” Sanderson said.

“The first organized public school in the town of Madison was Madison Male and Female Academy,” Sanderson wrote. In 1895, Madison Training School was organized and eventually became Madison High School in 1924.

In the early 1970s, Madison’s grades 10-12 attended Sparkman High School. With overcrowding at Sparkman, grade 10 shifted to Madison School. “On Dec. 7, 1972, grades 9-11 at Madison School were officially named ‘Bob Jones High School,'” Sanderson wrote.

Cindi and James Sanderson were in Bob Jones’ first graduating class, which “remained at Madison School until the new Bob Jones building was ready for occupancy. The charter class of 1974 held their graduating ceremonies in the new building,” Sanderson wrote.

At a recent Madison Board of Education meeting, State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw presented a legislative resolution of commendation to Cindi Sanderson. Holtzclaw read snippets, such as the superintendent’s first salary was $80 per month and the largest capital investment that year was $870 on a two-room schoolhouse.

“I was so surprised when Sen. Holtzclaw contacted me,” Sanderson said. “That was such an honor that I was not by any means expecting.”

For her book presentation to Madison City Council, Sanderson invited Madison elementary student Haven Hill to assist. “It was fitting because, like myself, Haven’s family goes back to the early 1800s, also. She is Mary Margaret Lanier’s granddaughter,” Sanderson said.

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