EDGECOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -The Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association contributed $6,100 to Edgecombe Community College to establish a scholarship for Edgecombe County students in honor of Phillips High School and the Brick School.
Brenda Asbury is a member of the Phillips High School Class of 1969 and historian of the Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association. She says, “The organization has been working extremely hard to establish the scholarship, and will continue to work hard to make it grow as large as we can in the years to come.”
Asbury says she presented the idea of endowing a scholarship at ECC to the alumni association officers several years ago to honor their former high school, Phillips High School, which was one of four high schools for African American students in Edgecombe County.
Before Phillips’s construction, many African American high school students in Edgecombe, Halifax, and Nash counties attended Brick School in the Bricks community in Edgecombe County.
According to historians, the Brick School’s building that housed the high school students was destroyed by fire, and students were routed to various churches until a new building was constructed.
Phillips High School opened in 1949 and served African American students in grades 7-12. In the early 1970s, Edgecombe County schools were desegregated, and Phillips students in grades 9-12 were transferred to North Edgecombe High School. Phillips High School is now Phillips Middle School.
“After college, I came back to the Edgecombe area to live, and all of the pictures and trophies from the days of Phillips High School had been taken down at the school because it was now a middle school. That was when I began to worry that our history and heritage would be lost to future generations. With our scholarship endowment now in place, students will have an opportunity to learn about Phillips High School and the positive impact it had on this community.”
The Phillips/Bricks Alumni Association has had as many as 175 dues-paying members, and the group sponsors a popular reunion attended by hundreds of people yearly.
“Every year, for 43 years, we’ve been awarding scholarships to Edgecombe high school students. Over the years, we’ve donated roughly $150,000 to benefit local students,” Asbury says.
“Since the last class graduated in 1972, we’re getting older,” she continues. “We want to keep the legacy of Phillips High School alive in the community. Establishing a permanent endowment at ECC is a way to keep our history and memory of the school alive. Hopefully our descendants will continue to support and grow the endowment after we’re gone.”
“Phillips High School and Brick School share a rich history and legacy, and Phillips alumni have a deep sense of pride in their school and loyalty to their alma mater,” says ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod. “We are honored that they chose to establish a scholarship at Edgecombe Community College, which will keep their legacy alive for future generations.”
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