The St. Helena High School class of 1963 recently celebrated their 50th reunion and dedicated a plaque that will hang in St. Helena Island Elementary School to Jonathan Francis, Sr., the first principal of the high school.
Francis, the grandson of former slaves and the son of farm laborers, attended South Carolina State College, where he studied agriculture and earned a master's of education. He was the principal and teacher of Bluffton Graded School before becoming the principal of St. Helena High in 1953.
He is remembered as being firm but fair, loving and nurturing. He led the school to achievements in academics, music and sports. Francis died in 1963.