|By Rick Steelhammer, Staff Writer Gazette-Mail|
Big accomplishments can come from small high schools, as Homer Hickam and his Rocket Boys from Big Creek High School in War, McDowell County, proved in winning the National Science Fair in 1960.
As alumni from Normantown High School, a like-sized, also-defunct school in Gilmer County at the other end of the state from War, gather for the Class of 1966's 50th reunion on Saturday, some will likely remember hearing their parents talk about the school's David versus Goliath championship season of 1945.
The one when their 150-person student body produced a basketball team that captured the all-class state championship with a 50-49 win over Logan.
But in 1966, the tiny West Virginia high school produced a team that took top honors at an international competition in an event a bit slower-paced and lower-profile than basketball. In the process of doing so, the Normantown High team racked up a score that remains unbeaten today.
The event was the International Land and Range Judging Contest, held near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There, contestants determine soil types and their water absorbing properties, estimate slope and erosion potentials, and determine what crops, mechanical treatments and fertilizer applications are most appropriate for farming the land.
READ REST OF STORY 50 years ago, team from tiny Normantown High set still-standing international record By Rick Steelhammer, Staff Writer Gazette-Mail