Miss Frances McCardwell was the favorite teacher of many students at Cliffside High in the last ‘40s and early ’50. The following is an excerpt from an article by Virginia Rucker in the Forest City Courier in 1997.
Before Frances McCardwell taught at Cliffside she had taught in Durham and at Casar. Schools could afford to pay teachers for only eight months, and students attended in July and part of August, then were out in October to help with picking cotton, the chief source of income for rural areas.
When McCardwell went to Casar she taught fifth grade but, because she had a high school music certificate and was teaching out of her field, she was paid only $60 a month.
“I gave piano lessons to make enough money to pay for my room and board,” she recalled.
When her brother-in-law, Frank Wells, went into service, McCardwell went to teach in Cliffside and live with her sister, Marguerite. “I was the first teacher ever allowed to live out of town.” She lived in the Avondale-Henrietta-Caroleen school district.
McCardwell went to Cliffside in 1943 and to Cool Springs in 1953, and remembers the transition, the schools and many of the students. The change to 12 years was made easily, she said, and just meant the addition of extra classes.