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On Sept. 17, 1918, the formal opening of the State Home and Industrial School for Girls — Samarcand Manor — took place.
Until its closing in 2011, Samarcand ministered to the spiritual, academic and vocational needs of generations of North Carolina’s adjudicated youth.
Today it carries on that same spirit of service as Samarcand Training Academy for law enforcement.
In rural Moore County, hands-on agricultural pursuits provided all the produce and livestock needs of the students. In time and with the support of government and civic organizations, it became an exemplary rehabilitation model for the state. Students lived in dormitory cottages and were provided ‘round-the-clock supervision by a trained and compassionate staff. Entering students were given an orientation period before being released onto the main campus. Services for the students mirrored those of the public schools.
Like any correctional facility, Samarcand had dark episodes in its history.
There was the occasional riot and the nationwide practice of eugenics has been well-documented.
The year 2018 marks the 100 th anniversary of Samarcand Manor. My prayer is that any living former students and staff will pause and reflect on their time there. In my 30-plus years as a teacher, Samarcand was an epiphany; a place to call home.
Happy birthday, my friend!