Education in the Mount Zion Community has a long and interesting history. In 1877 James Mitchell was an agent of the Georgia Methodist Episcopal Conference Education Association. There was very little money for public education, especially in the rural areas, because the South was still suffering the ravages of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Dr. Mitchell worked to convince the Methodist Conference that it should offer the rural youth of Georgia an opportunity to attend school nine months a year. The conference voted to work toward opening nine schools throughout the state, but the exact locations of the schools were undecided. It is fortunate that at this point Dr. Mitchell was scheduled to preach at Mount Zion, one of the smallest churches of the Georgia Methodist Episcopal Conference. He was so favorably impressed with the friendliness, earnestness and dedication of the adult congregation and the fine group of young children present that he immediately began working to convince the conference to sponsor a school at the small community of Mount Zion. The proposed school would be operated on the stock plan with the Methodist Conference holding controlling stock and local citizens purchasing stock to make it financially feasible to open a school. Five acres of land were donated by Mr. Joseph Entrekin, and the local citizens gave their time, talent and hard-earned money to construct the first building of Mount Zion Seminary. This building had three rooms.
The dreams of the Mount Zion citizens and Dr. Mitchell became a reality in December 1880 when Mount Zion Seminary opened its doors for its first semester with sixty students and two teachers. The goal of Mount Zion Seminary was to educate youth academically, spiritually and socially. Establishing and operating a school on the basis of funds obtained from the sale of school stock, small tuition fees, and donations was hazardous to say the least. Despite these uncertainties, Mount Zion Seminary prospered. Only two of the nine schools established by the Georgia Methodist Episcopal Conference had survived to the turn of the century--Mount Zion and the school at Demorest, Georgia. By this time, enrollment at Mount Zion Seminary had increased to one hundred students and additional buildings had been added.
The original campus had been enlarged over the years and by 1918 it contained twenty acres. By 1920 Mount Zion Seminary had become an accredited institution; it boasted an enrollment of two hundred and had three classroom buildings and boarding facilities for both boys and girls. The collective efforts of the Mount Zion Community, and the church made it possible for Mount Zion Seminary to launch another building program in the late 1920s. In 1924 a two story addition was added to the building. There had long been a need for proper facilities for the vocational agriculture department, a gymnasium, and four classrooms. In only a few short years, the agriculture department was recognized as one of the best in the state, a reputation that was to last for many years until a tragic fire destroyed the building and its equipment.
In the 1930s the Methodist Episcopal Church reorganized nationwide, and decided to no longer sponsor church schools. In the fall of 1937 the Mount Zion Seminary Board of Trustees turned over a portion of the land, all of the buildings and the operation of Mount Zion Seminary to the local school trustees of the Turkey Creek School District. On September 1, 1939 the local trustees deeded the property to the Carroll County Board of Education. The main seminary building continued to house Mount Zion Elementary School until the late 1950s when a new elementary school, which had been built on the grounds of the original seminary building, was opened. During the 1960-61 school year a fire destroyed the shop, the gym and the high school classrooms. It seemed likely that the high school students would be moved to other existing schools in the county. However, the community worked unceasingly to provide the things needed to keep a high school in Mount Zion. The community rebuilt the gym and maintained the football field. In March, 1977 a new Mount Zion High School building was opened.
Information for this page was taken from a history written by Mrs. Lanette Horton and materials and photographs provided from the collection of Mr. Jack Dorsey.