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About Our School

About Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ketterlinus

Ketterlinus was named after Elizabeth B. Ketterlinus. She lived in what we now know as Ripley’s Museum. Mrs. Ketterlinus donated the land on the corner of Mulvey and Orange Streets to the St. Johns County School Board.

F. A. Hollingsworth was hired as the architect to design St. Augustine High School. In 1924, the school officially opened to students around St. Augustine. In 1928, enrollment grew to 188 students.  In 1928, the school board renamed the school from St. Augustine High School to The Elizabeth Ketterlinus High School.   The current St. Augustine High was not built until much later.

The first principal was P.W. Hatcher. He remained principal until 1932. From 1932-36, J.A. Crookshank was the principal. Some of the other high school principals who followed were: B.J. Nelms, Milton Curry, W. Douglas Hartley, Albert Rumph, and Thomas C. Swift.

The high school had no air conditioning. The football field was where Francis Field stands today. The students had no school cafeteria. Many of them left campus to eat lunch at Russell’s Barbecue stand or the A & W Root Beer Drive-In. Others walked to the Orange Street School or downtown St. Augustine to eat.

Ketterlinus was very famous if you know the history. Did you know that President Harry Truman visited Ketterlinus in 1950? Did you know that the high school Yellow Jackets football team won every game for four straight seasons.

When the current St. Augustine High opened, Ketterlinus became a junior high school in 1960. John D. Baggett Sr. and O.C. Hayes were the beginning principals of the junior high. Integration occurred at Ketterlinus in 1970. There were approximately 601 students attending the school.

On Sunday, February 8, 1981, around 3:30 p.m., a fire broke out and gutted 19 classrooms of the old building. Damage totaled more than $1 million.

The principal, Robert L. Braden, went inside the burning building to find important school documents. Braden saw an unconscious firefighter lying on the floor. Even though Braden was blinded by the smoke, he still knew his way around the building and was able to drag the firefighter out with him. A photographer who was with him was able to get out of the burning building by jumping out a window. The only thing that survived in the building was a clock that remains in the school today.

Four days after the terrible fire, double sessions began. The 9th graders attended from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the 8th graders, from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. In May, the 9th grade students returned to St. Augustine High School and Ketterlinus Junior High became a 7th and 8th grade center.

It was during this time period that Ketterlinus became a middle school, serving 6th graders as well.

Gerald Eubanks was the middle school principal until Skeeter Key arrived in 1987. Students were known as the Ketterlinus Hornets. In 1991, after major renovations were completed in the school building, they became the Ketterlinus Elementary Dolphins. It serves grades VPK-5.