Laurel Bay elementary school closes after 60 years

LAUREL BAY, Sc. (WSAV) – Galer Elementary School lowered their flag Wednesday morning to salute the military families that were stationed at laurel bay and the children that learned to read in their classrooms. The school, named for WWII hero, Robert E. Galer, opened on Laurel Bay military housing in 1957.

Some of its students have kept it rather close.

“My dad was a marine. I went to school one which is now known as Galer, and I was there from kindergarten through 2nd grade,” said Lori Morgan, “In 1992 they had an opening over at Bolden which is school 2 so I applied and got the job.”

After 60 years, it’s now closing to move students and staff to the newer school on base.

“It’s closed really because it’s time, its 60 years old,” said Roosevelt McCollough, a former teacher and Assistant Superintendent for a total of 31 years.

Galer is one of the oldest schools in Beaufort County, and one of the first in South Carolina to desegregate.

“In 1961, the Marine Corps black marine corps servicemen at the time had to send their kids to the black schools in Beaufort,” said Alvin Settles, a retired speech teacher of 40 years.

At the time, they had no idea they were making history

“I came to the system in 1963,” said McCollough, “I was the first black male to teach in an integrated school in the state of South Carolina.”

“Because of the history of Laurel Bay, other military schools in Georgia, in Alabama in the southern states, integrated their campuses,” said Settles.

“We close its doors but the legacy of this school really lives on through our teachers and our students,” said Colonel Peter Buck with the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

A building that may get torn down, but a legacy that could never.

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