Named as one of the 2004 GEORGIA SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE in student achievement for demonstrating the greatest continuous gains in reading/language arts and math over the previous three year period, and as a 2006 GOLD AWARD recipient from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement for having the “Greatest Gain (in) Meeting and Exceeding Standards” on the GCRCT, Free Home Elementary has experienced many accomplishments since its early establishment. Free Home Elementary is located in rural, eastern Cherokee County which borders Fulton and Forsyth Counties. Although rural, Free Home Community is considered part of the metro Atlanta area.
Delavan Lively, a captain during the Civil War, named Free Home School. Captain Lively owned land near the first existing one room school in the area, Chestnut Log, which was located at a crossroads in the Cross Roads Militia District of Cherokee County, Georgia. Due to limited financial resources, families who farmed the land were unable to buy land or build homes; therefore, Captain Lively offered free land to anyone who wanted to build a house with the understanding that the property would revert to him if the people moved away. Thus, the name of the community became known as Free Homes. It was during Captain Lively’s administration as a teacher that a new one-room school was built and named Free Home. A second building was later built to meet the expanding needs of the community.
A third building was erected in 1906 and a larger four-room, two story building was constructed in 1919 which eventually consisted of a lunchroom and seven classrooms housing grades one through nine. The main structure, a brick building designed for grades one through eight, was completed for the 1956-57 school year. The new building consisted of nine classrooms, a lunchroom, library, office, and restrooms. An annex was constructed in 1975, housing five new classrooms. In 2002, the lobby of the annex was remodeled to provide a small room to meet the school’s speech needs. One mobile unit was added in 1990 and another in 1992.
With the construction of a new middle school in 1985, Free Home changed from serving grades one through eight to serving kindergarten through grade six. With more growth in the community, the school changed again to include kindergarten through fourth grade for the 2000-2001 school year. For the 2004-2005 school year, boundary lines were redrawn reducing the enrollment and changing the grade configuration once again to kindergarten through fifth grades.
Even with the population growth and change, Free Home remains a close knit environment and the community is an integral part of the school. Parental and community support are vital assets to Free Home Elementary.