- Summerour MS
- Our History
Located at 321 Price Place in Norcross is Summerour Middle School. From 1957-1964, the students from this area attended Norcross Junior High School located on College Avenue. The buildings they occupied were built in 1903 and 1914 and had recently been vacated by Norcross High School when it moved to Beaver Ruin Road. The new high school was on property that had belonged to Lala Simpson Summerour.
When Mrs. Summerour was approached about the sale of her property, for the purposes of constructing a high school, she refused to sell. Instead, she graciously donated the property that was wanted. She gave 17 acres. These 17 acres were used for Norcross High School, a football field, and, eventually, Summerour Middle School.
Summerour Middle School opened its doors for the 1964-1965 school year; it included grades five through eight. The school systems did not move to a sixth through eighth middle school concept until the 1970-71 school year. At that time, Gwinnett County had only five middle schools: Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Snellville, and Summerour. Total enrollment in 1970-71 was 850 students.
With the new philosophy of the middle school, additional space was needed for exploratory subjects. A wing was added for the 1971-1972 school year. This included five classrooms and an industrial lab. Another wing was added in 1978-1979, with four classrooms, two science labs, band and music classrooms, and offices for counselors.
Enrollment rose to 1,378 during the 1982-1983 school year. This required 66 faculty members, one instructional lead teacher, two assistant principals, and a principal. This also required nine portable classrooms. Pinckneyville Middle School was built soon after, alleviating Summerour's crowded population and, in order to utilize new-found space, ninth grade students from Norcross High School attended morning classes on the Summerour campus from 1985-1987.
In 1988-1989 enrollment was 758. By 1996-1997 it was in need of further expansion, which added 16 new classrooms, a new cafeteria, and a relocated Media Center. In 2000-2001, another addition was made and 8 more classrooms were added. By this time enrollment was just under 1,000 year after year.
Summerour's population has burgeoned since 2010, breaking the 1,000 student mark and surpassing the 1982-1983 peak. To service our larger numbers, Summerour Middle School moved into a brand-new building next door for 2015-2016. The new building is on the original property, but at the old site of Norcross High School. We opened with 9 empty classrooms, but those are quickly filling as we continue to grow. At the opening of the 2020-2021 school year, we are serving 1,564 students in mixed in-person/online environs.
Summerour Middle School has hosted a number of programs throughout the years. In 1988, Summerour chartered a Junior Beta Club which was active into the current millennium. This service organization received recognition for its PATS (Pairing A Teacher and Student) program, which was adopted by several other GCPS middle schools and was something of a precursor to today's advisement program which is implemented in every Gwinnett County Public School.
Summerour was selected as the Gwinnett County Middle School of Excellence and as a Georgia Middle School of Excellence for the 1988-1989 school year. Summerour's excellence was recognized in 1997 when it again received the designation "Georgia School of Excellence." In 2002, Summerour was nominated as a President's "No Child Left Behind" Blue Ribbon School for the state of Georgia.
In 2004-2005 Summerour Middle School became an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program Candidate School, and was shortly thereafter granted full IB status, making the Norcross Cluster the first IB cluster in Gwinnett County.
In January, 2011, GCPS selected Summerour Middle School as a pilot site for Junior Leadership Corps. JLC grew out of a joint vision between the U.S. Army and the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) as a result of their mutual interest in graduating successful, productive leaders. This is a great honor. The program continues to grow within Gwinnett County, but it started here.
Summerour has also been recognized through the years in Debate, Chess, Jazz Bands, Peer Leadership, and Art. The school has been led by Principal Dorothy Parker-Jarrett since 2009, she was selected as the Gwinnett County Counseling Advocate of the Year. She became the 2012 Regional, State, then National Counseling Advocate of the Year. In 2014, Summerour was recognized as an ASCA RAMP school, a national counseling award, and is one of only 22 schools in Gwinnett to receive this honor. In 2013-14, and again in 2014-15, Summerour student artists won trips to Istanbul, Turkey through the Atlantic Institute Art & Essay contest. Also in 2015, Summerour was named a Breakout School by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. Summerour received a 2016 High Flying Schools Award at the 27th Annual Youth-At-Risk Conference. During the summer of 2019, we sent a student to the National History Day National Competition in Washington, DC. Summerour is an exciting place to be.
The Summerour story begins with three sibling immigrants from Sommerau village in central Germany in 1748: Heinrich, Johannes, and Susannah. Upon arriving in the new land, their names were changed to Henry, John, and Susan Summerour. Henry's descendants would trek through Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas.
After moving to Texas to be a cowboy, Norcross farmer Homer Summerour, returned home. Described by some as a "tinkerer," he developed a more productive variety of cotton in the early 1900's. This cotton was known as Half and Half. He was soon nationally known. People around the nation would send letters requesting samples, but have no more address than "Cotton Seed Man, Georgia." The letters would find their way to Homer.
Margaret Eulalia "Lala" Simpson was a local Norcross girl who married Tom Ed Summerour, Homer's brother. Homer's sister-in-law made the land donation that Summerour Middle School is built upon. Lala did not live to see the middle school built on the property she donated, but she did see the high school open its doors and continue the business of educating the children of Norcross.
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The "New" Building