History of Kentwood High Magnet School
The first school building for an organized school in Kentwood was constructed in 1889. It was small but ample for that day, containing two rooms with a partition so that a stage in the rear would be seen from each room. It served a multiple purpose as town hall and church; it was used for any other public gathering requiring a meeting place. The Reverend Milton Shirk of Osyka, Mississippi was the first teacher.
There have been twenty-seven different principals of the school, and two of these, Miss Maud Amacker and M.A. Arnett each served on three separate occasions.
The Kentwood Collegiate Institution was established in 1896 when the school was organized by grades for the first time. A new two-story building was added tot the original one; it was paid by private subscriptions and a small outlay through taxation of the First Ward. Fees to attend were levied on pupils as follows: Primary-$1.50; Preparatory-$2.00; Freshmen and Sophomores-$2.50; Junior-$3.00; and Senior-$3.50. An incidental fee of five cents per month was required per pupil.
The first graduating class in 1906 was composed of three young ladies, Mrs. Leontime Morris Macker, Mrs. Corrine Broyles Shoemaker, and Mrs. Laura Chambers Stopeder. The first male graduates were Mr. Eual Dykes and Mr. William L. Freeland in 1909. The largest class has been that of 1970 with seventy graduates.
Building projects were undertaken as the citizens strove to meet expanding community needs. The Maud Arnett Grammar School was built in 1909. The band building, originally a home economics and commerce department and later the lunchroom was completed in 1926 and demolished in 1979. A model high school was completed in 1931, but the structure burned in 1938. The present high school building was constructed in 1940 and renovated in 1979. The agriculture building was built around the same time. The football field was lighted in the fall of 1941. The gymnasium building was completed in 1942. The stadium was dedicated in 1950. The primary building was completed in the fall of 1970. The Title 1 Reading and Math buildings were completed in 1978. A new junior high building was constructed in 1979; also, the old junior high building was demolished in 1979. In 1980 the new gymnasium was constructed. The football stadium was renovated in 1984. Extensive renovations were made during the 1985-86 school session. Again, in 1995, a new vocational complex was constructed. It included a new agriculture building, business education, JTPA, and band room. The main building was renovated. The entire work totaled $1.2 million.
In 1969, a consolidation with students of W. Dillon High School was effected. Grades 1-3 and 9-12 were incorporated into Kentwood High School. In 1971, grades attending Kentwood High School were reconstructed to include grades 7-12. In 2011, a magnet program for fine and performing arts was implemented and the name of the school was changed to Kentwood High Magnet School.
The faculty has grown from the original "one" to its present size. Kentwood High was fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary schools in 1923 and has maintained that accreditation since. More than forty units are offered toward graduation in several areas. Every faculty member holds a Bachelor's Degree and are highly qualified in their teaching areas.