School History



Bethware Elementary School was born out of the consolidation of El Bethel School and the Ware School in 1924. Since then, three additional schools were united with it: Oak Grove School (1940's), Bethlehem School (1940's) and Patterson Grove School (1957). The First graduating class of Bethware School proudly marched down the aisle in 1934. In 1961 the school consolidated with the Kings Mountain City School System and in 2003, Kings Mountain City Schools merged with Cleveland County Schools making Bethware a thriving school in Cleveland County, North Carolina. Since its inception, the school has served several grade levels:

1924-1946 (1-11)

1946-1961 (1-12)

1962-1965 (1-8)

1965-1974 (1-6);

1975 -2002 (K-5)

2002-Present (Pre-K - 4)

Its close proximity to US Highway 74 made Bethware a historic center for the semi-rural farming community of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. During the 1940's the school was a thriving and bustling epicenter for vocational agriculture enterprises. In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, teachers taught the virtues of farming to rural youth and citizens surrounding the school. Community members joined together to build and operate a cannery. Local farmers brought their produce to the cannery where it was prepared, sealed in cans or jars, and then immersed in boiling water to complete the process.

The old cannery used to be occupied and maintained by the Bethware Progressive Club, which was made up of leading civic-minded citizens in the Bethware Community. This philanthropic group's objective is to improve the quality of life throughout the community. A major project of the Progressive Club was the annual Bethware Fair, second in size only to the historic Cleveland County Fair. Located on the sprawling 14.7 acre campus of Bethware School, the fair was a historic attraction for the community. In addition to benefiting Bethware School, proceeds from the fair went to needy children and other charitable projects deemed worthy by its members. In 2017 the Bethware Progressive Club came to an end. Bethware School appreciates the support of its members and will always remember the generous contributions given by the members of the club throughout the years.

Under the current leadership of its Principal, Mrs. Lee Howell, Bethware Elementary School continues to be a learning community where its mission is clear and evident; a place where "the Bethware family will work together as a team to encourage all students to be successful and meet their full potential."