Emma Sansom High School

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Outside spring photo of Emma Sansom Middle School

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 was brought to new heights under Coach Fred Buster Gross. The Alabama High School Athletic Association named Emma Sansom season of 1984 "The Most Amazing Season" in the state of Alabama. During that season Emma Sansom went 15 - 0 winning the State Championship. They out scored their opponents by 364-102. The year before in 1983 Emma Sansom was the State Runner Up. Emma Sansom football won the Region Championship in 1977,1978,1979,1980,1982,1983,1984,1987,1995,1996,1997. From the years on 1977 to 1984 the football team holds a record of 78 wins and 13 loses with 7 of those loses being in the playoffs.


Emma Sansom High School was closed in 2006 when the Gadsden City Board of Education consolidated the city high schools into All City High School now known as the Gadsden City High School.[2] The Emma Sansom High School building was converted into a middle school beginning with the 2006/2007 academic year. General Forrest Middle School students were moved to the newly renamed Emma Sansom Middle School.[3][4]

Emma Sansom Middle School offers many clubs and organizations, such as student government, quiz bowl, choral, band, art, and more. It also offers AP classes, such as pre-algebra. Students can participate in marching band as well as jazz band. Students compete on state level for choral and band and the band travels to places such as Disney World. Emma Sansom Middle School provides a range of sports opportunities including: basketball, football, softball, baseball, volleyball, track, tennis and more.

In 2018 Ms. Jacqueline Tiller because principal and Mrs. Marcia Farabee was vice-principal. The school has 350 students and is currently a Title 1 school with 75% of students being on free and reduced lunches. Emma Sansom middle school reviewed a B on their state report card for the 2017 school year. That was the highest middle school get in Etowah County. Emma Sansom faculty, staff and students are proud to be called the Emma Sansom Rebels!

Emma Sansom Middle School participates in service projects to help the community. During this time the students provided hygiene items to people in need during the holiday season in order to help teach the students that it is better to give than to receive. The middle school's Rockettes' assisted in giving out these items to the people in need.[5]


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.
  5. ^ Fox, Dustin (18 December 2018). "Middle school students learn about giving". The Gadsden Times. Retrieved 4 April 2019.

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

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