Emma Sansom High School

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Emma Sansom High School (opened 1929 - closed 2006) was a high school located in Gadsden, Alabama. It was named for a young girl (Emma Sansom) who was credited with helping General Nathan Bedford Forrest to cross Black Creek in Gadsden, Alabama and get his troops ahead of the Union troops thus stopping the impending attack upon Rome, Georgia during the Civil War.[1]


Emma Sansom High School distinguished itself as a school of champions and was the primary reason that the city government adopted the slogan "The City of Champions" for the city of Gadsden. The outstanding band, under the direction of Billy "Rip" Reagan, his son Steve Reagan, Boyd McKeown, Pat Morrow, Russ Waits and others (all former ESHS band members themselves) played for many events such as the Mardi Gras, New Orleans Saints football games as well as performing at the Viking football games, and events at the Talladega Superspeedway race track and many other national events. Known as the "Greatest Band In Dixie" while under the leadership of Billy "Rip" Reagan. Additionally, the school had quite a history of sports achievement.


Emma Sansom High School was closed in 2006 when the Gadsden City Government decided to close all of the city high schools and create an All City High School now known as the Gadsden City High School.[2] Emma Sansom High School was converted into Emma Sansom Middle School beginning with the 2006/2007 academic year. General Forrest Middle School was moved to Emma Sansom High School and renamed Emma Sansom Middle School.[3][4]

Emma Sansom Middle School offers many clubs and organizations, such as student government, quiz bowl, choral, art, and more. It also offers AP classes, such as pre-algebra.


Emma Sansom Middle School (ESMS) Band is directed by Stacy Harris. The advanced band has over 100 members, made up of 7th and 8th graders. The school has beginning, advanced and stage band classes. The marching band is the second biggest middle school band in Etowah County area. Often, much larger than area high school bands.

The Gadsden City High School Band has taken on the glory as well. With a band of 260, GCHS band is one of the most well known in the state.


  1. ^ "Emma Sansom (Johnson)". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  2. ^ Slaton, Luke (15 November 2006). "Gadsden drawing students back with new high school". The Moulton Advertiser. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  3. ^ Luster, Marla (11 May 2005). "Middle schools to be renamed Emma Sansom and Litchfield". The Gadsden Times. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  4. ^ Jackson, Mo (1 July 2006). "High school change spurs middle school moves". The Gadsden Times. Retrieved 24 February 2014.

Coordinates: 34°01′23″N 86°02′14″W / 34.02306°N 86.03714°W / 34.02306; -86.03714

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