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Our History

Robinson, Jenkison, Ellerson

Prior to the founding of R. J. E., the school was located on State Road 100 near the Brymer Settlement in a one room structure. After this building was destroyed by fire, school was conducted in the Mt. Moriah M. E. Church; located on the present site of Bradford County High School U. S. 301. Most of Starke’s older population school days were spend in the Old Masonic Hall on Brownlee Street and Allen Chapel A. M. E. Church on Pine Street.

Under the leadership of Rev. James Robinson, supervisor, Mr. Robert Ellerson, treasurer, and Professor A. O. Jenkins, Sr., secretary-principal, the patrons purchased four lots, lumber, and other necessary building materials in 1913. The plans for construction were drawn and directed by A. O. Jenkins, Sr.  The building was constructed by patrons without pay from July 17, to September 13, 1913. The two story structure, located at Florida and Pine Streets, consisted of two classrooms downstairs and an assembly-classroom combination upstairs opened in 1913.

The name R. J. E. was suggested by Mrs. Fannies King and was accepted by the patrons. These initials represented the leading constituents of the school organization: Robinson, Jenkins, and Ellerson.

During the school term 1913, “The Literary Society” selected purple and gold as the school colors. The words to the school song “Dear Old R. J. E.”, were written by Mrs. Flossie B. Keller McLendon, former student and teacher of R. J. E.

In 1917, an organized football team played a matched-game with Alachua School.

In 1936, R. J. E. Graded School became a High School. Within four years there were twelve grades and seven teachers.

A school lunch program was inaugurated by Professor E. T. Evans in 1940. After operating for three years, the program was discontinued because of crowded conditions.

During the spring of 1943, R. J. E. was host to the first county-wide Play Day. A trial paper was printed and presented to the public at this event. The paper was composed of articles from six teachers, the Student Council, Sports, Several articles from the community, and Ten Advertisements.

The two-story frame building served as a high school for the black community in Starke until 1945, when it was obvious too small.  Community members went to Bradford County School Board with a request for a new school, but the district informed the citizens that there was no available funds to purchase the land.  Individual sacrifices, students, both elementary and high, took up collections for the fund.  One month later, the group purchased the land on Pine and Jenkins Streets for $2000.  With an agreement to pay the first $1000 on July 1945 and the balance by November 1947.  In July of 1948 the deeds to the land was transferred over to the Board Of Public Instruction by A. O. Jenkins, George Little and C.A. Crum as Trustees of Colored School District No. 3 of Bradford County for the sum $10 and other “valuable considerations”. 

During the year of 1949, the Board of Public Instruction authorized construction of an Industrial Shop, Home Economic Unit, and two classrooms. Last school term the board authorized the construction of fourteen classrooms, library, cafeteria, science room, a classroom for Business Education, shower rooms, principal and secretary offices, and a teacher’s lounge. Two classrooms located on the old school site, Pine and Florida Streets have been renovated for use by the Activity school R. J. E.

R. J. E. Under the sponsorships of Mrs. Ernestine Rose Cox the first yearbook of was printed in 1949.

During the principal’s administration the school has grown from an eleven teacher Elementary and High School to a twenty-one teacher Elementary and High School which includes two Special Education Teachers. The school gained its accreditation by the State Department of Education for the first time in 1950.

The N. H. A., Choir Club and other organizations have been organized during the past six years. The Student Council was also reactivated. In 1954, we participated in “Career Day” with Dunbar High School, Green Cove Springs, Florida.

In 1955, Business Education was added to the curriculum. A modern school lunch program was launched.

In 1956, the Dedication of the new school on present site (Pine & Jenkins Street).  The Board authorized the construction of two new classrooms in 1960.

The construction of a gymnasium and two additional classrooms were authorized by the School Board in 1961.

In 1962, re-organizing of the school bank.  And two years later in 1964, Mr. C. Clark and Professor C. C. Anderson split the year as Principal.

When desegregation first made headlines in the 1950’s, both white and black stressed their opinion – they didn’t favor changes in the school.  However, in June 1965, 31 African-American students registered to attend all-white schools in Bradford County.  At that time, the desegregation plan allowed students to register at any school.  In 1966, 118 black students had registered to attend all-white schools with five black teachers asked to teach in an all-white school and five white teachers asked to teach in an all-black school. 

By the School District allowing people to make their own decisions on the matter had not accomplished the goal of the Courts, therefore, the School District was still noncompliance with the Court Order to desegregate the schools. 

In 1969 R.J.E. High School were still operating and had only black students.  With the School District still listed as being in noncompliance with the Court Order, the School District decided to bring the schools into compliance or lose thousands of dollars of Federal School funding. Therefore, School Board decided to close the doors of R.J.E. High School.  The 1969 Class was the last class to graduate and 1972 the R.J.E. School was officially closed.


  • 1909-1923 Professor A. O. Jenkins, Sr.
  • 1923-1924 Rev. Albert Emanuel
  • 1924-1938 Professor A. O. Jenkins, Sr.
  • 1938-1941 Professor E. T. Evans
  • 1941-1942 Professor Edwin Norwood
  • 1942-1943 Mrs. Mallie Meeks Hunter
  • 1943-1949 Professor A. O. Jenkins, Sr.
  • 1949-1964 Professor Eddie Thompkins
  • 1964-1969 Mr. C. Clark and Professor Anderson split the year as Principal