- Clarke Central High
Bettye Henderson Holston Elementary Renaming Ceremony Set for Nov. 3
October 30, 2023
The Clarke County School District will hold a renaming ceremony for Bettye Henderson Holston Elementary School (formerly Alps Road Elementary) on Friday, Nov. 3, beginning at 1 p.m. at the school, 205 Alps Rd., Athens. The public is invited to attend.
The event will begin outside with a ribbon cutting hosted by the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, followed by a formal program in the school cafeteria. CCSD Superintendent Dr. Robbie Hooker, Board of Education President Dr. LaKeisha Gantt, Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz, and Ms. Holston are scheduled to give remarks.
Earlier this year, the Board of Education voted to rename Alps Road Elementary in honor of Ms. Holston, who integrated the faculty there in September 1966. Signage installation at the school is being completed this week, and the school will officially be referred to as Bettye Henderson Holston Elementary starting Wednesday, Nov. 1.
A native of Monticello, Ms. Holston developed a passion for teaching and education at an early age and was inspired by her mother and aunt, both of whom taught Black children in rural communities. After graduating from Fort Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, she taught nine years in public schools in Walton, Barrow, and Newton counties.
Not long after moving to Athens, she applied for a position with the Clarke County School District and was assigned to the segregated Alps Road Elementary for the start of the 1966-67 school year — part of the initial group of Black teachers who integrated the Clarke County teaching staff that year. She would later transfer to Chase Street Elementary, where she won Teacher of the Year in 1975, and she retired from a distinguished teaching career in Clarke County in 1989 at Timothy Road Elementary.
Ms. Holston is a past president of the Athens Area Retired Educators Association, was a local Girl Scout leader, and has been involved with and served on several community organizations and boards. She also has held several leadership positions at Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church since joining in 1963. In all of these roles, she remained dedicated to service and making a difference in the lives of others.
“Teachers are important because they change lives, inspire dreams, and they imbue students with the knowledge they will use throughout their lives,” said Ms. Holston. “Teaching can be rewarding, and while I always wanted to do work which was rewarding, I found greater purpose in making history live for people who came after me, and in that way, being the change I wished to see in the world.
“A good teacher is like a candle – you light the way for others. I hope I have done just that.”