HISTORY OF WILLIAM FLEMING HIGH SCHOOL
William Fleming High School is one of Roanoke City's two high schools. The school is named for William Fleming, a Scot immigrant, who was a notable physician and statesman. For a period of six years, he was attached as surgeon to George Washington's regiment in the French and Indian Wars. As a colonel in Dunsmore's Wars, he was wounded, and this injury ended his military career. He continued to care for the sick and to participate actively in the affairs of the Roanoke community and of the state for the remainder of this life. He became a member of the General Assembly, a state senator, and for a very brief period of time acted as governor of Virginia. A national historical marker on the Monterey Golf Course denotes the site of Colonel Fleming's plantation.
In September of 1933, 152 students began the school year in a newly constructed building on a 7.5-acre tract (present site of Breckinridge Middle School) in Roanoke County. nbsp; The original William Fleming High School consisted of five high school classrooms, one elementary classroom, a library, a reception room, a chemistry laboratory, two locker rooms, an auditorium, and an office. The staff was composed of a principal and four teachers who instructed the students in English, history, mathematics, and two foreign languages. During the next few years, the enrollment climbed to two hundred, and seven new teachers were added. In the mid-thirties, a newspaper and a yearbook were established at William Fleming; the drama club presented its first play; and, seniors purchased class rings. Four clubs were started, and athletic programs began on a trial basis with football, basketball, and baseball teams.Fleming's football team ended its first season (1934-35) with a 1-2-1 record while the basketball team finished 5-11-0.This year also saw the establishment of the school's colors as blue and gold, and the introduction of "All Hail to William Fleming" as the school's fight song.
During the following decades, growth and development included additional academic courses and extracurricular activities. Two changes deserve special mention. In 1949, William Fleming became part of the Roanoke City School System through the annexation of part of Roanoke County by the city. The second change occurred when Fleming was moved to its present location in 1961, and became a city school in Roanoke County. Built on a 50-acre tract northwest of the city at a cost of $1,602,800, Fleming opened with 1,200 students and a "school within a school" concept. The campus style school encompassed 128,133 square feet and contained a central administration/library, an electives building, gymnasium, and three academic halls (Camper, Hart, and Smith).Each hall contained nine regular classrooms, two science laboratories, a greenhouse, a general education room, a teacher's workroom, and offices for an assistant principal and guidance counselor.
The physical plant has expanded since then. Coulter Hall was added in the 1960's and the field house in1970. In 1978, Lawson vocational Center and Dickinson Auditorium, a new central office complex, and enlarged media center, and a senior cafeteria were all added. An auxiliary gymnasium was constructed in early 1980, and in 1986 Camper Hall was expanded to provide additional rooms and laboratory facilities for science. In 1989, eight auxiliary classrooms were added to accommodate the arrival of ninth graders on campus as middle schools were established in the city.
The William Fleming High School of the Twenty First Century reflects these years of change, growth, and development. The school plant encompasses all of the above buildings. The student body has increased to 1,348 students, and the faculty is composed of a principal, 5 assistant principals, 7 guidance counselors, 112 teachers, and 36 classified personnel. Fleming has a diverse curriculum with a wide variety of courses, including a broad spectrum of the arts, humanities, mathematics, science, technical and vocational programs, special education classes, and advanced placement classes in calculus, biology, English, government, and history. The Magnet Schools for Visual and Performing Artsand for High Technology offer additional educational opportunities to Fleming students and bring students from other Roanoke Valley schools to this campus. Many Fleming students attend CITY (Center for Instructionally Talented Youth) School and Governor's School for Science and Technology at other locations in Roanoke for half of the school day. After school, opportunities for extracurricular activities abound. For example, the athletic program has grown to include sports for both young men and young women in the student body.