Cyril B. Busbee A.L. Corbett Elementary Middle School is a consolidation of two well respected, local schools. In 2010, Cyril B. Busbee Elementary and A.L. Corbett Middle were combined to create the current school. The schools are connected and share a campus. Parents and teachers refer to either the Busbee campus or Corbett campus when referring to a specific side of the school. Each school has a rich history, rooted in a strong community.
Cyril B. Busbee Elementary School was named after Dr. Cyril B. Busbee. Dr. Busbee was born in Wagener in 1908. He served in the U. S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. He spent his career as a teacher, principal, coach and district superintendent. Most notably, he served as State Superintendent of Education from 1966 to 1979, the years that included desegregation of South Carolina’s public schools. Under his leadership a statewide kindergarten program was established, 56 vocational centers were opened for high school students and the state’s free basic textbook program expanded to include grades 1-12. He was also active in a number of civic organizations and served on the Board of Directors of C&C National Bank and Lexington Medical Center.
A. L. Corbett Middle School was named after Wagener resident A.L. Corbett. Mr. Corbett was born in 1889 in the Sawyerdale Section of Orangeburg County. He served in the army during World War I. After serving his country, he moved to Wagener and eventually opened up his own store naming it “Corbett’s Mercantile Co.” During the Great Depression, many banks closed throughout the country including the one located in Wagener. After the so called “Bank Holiday,” Mr. Corbett took over the Western Carolina Bank that had closed and changed its name to the “Iodine State Bank” in which he served as its President up until his death. During this time, he served as Mayor of Wagener, as a Commissioner for the S.C. State Highway Department and as a school board member of the Aiken County School Board.
Mr. Corbett spent the majority of his lifetime trying to help people that were less fortunate. During this time, he saw that the educational system for African-American Students in the Wagener Area was deficient and lacked the facilities and equal opportunities that other students had. In order to help right some of these wrongs; he deeded a section of his property to the Aiken County School System with the stipulation that this land be used to erect a new school in Wagener that would help to better educate the Wagner area African-American Community. At its inception is 1954, A.L. Corbett Public School was rated as the fifth most modern in the nation. It now houses grades 6-8, with the original auditorium and gymnasium still used by the students and community.