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York Institue-A Legacy in Distress by Dr. Birdwell

Alvin York digging the footer for YAI


Alvin York, when asked “How do you want to be remembered?,” always replied, “For improving education in Tennessee.”

Alvin C. York
Agricultural Institute

YAIIn 1926, World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York (click here to learn more about our founder)established a school in order to provide educational opportunities denied him to the boys and girls of Fentress County, Tennessee (click here to learn more about our county).York raised a portion of the needed funds from private sources and solicited the Tennessee State Legislature for the additional funds. Classes began in 1929.

From 1926 to 1937, the school was operated privately. In 1937, the Tennessee General Assembly(click here to learn more about Tennessee government) placed Alvin C. York Institute under the control of the State Board of Education and assumed the responsibility for its funding.

The enrollment is around 700 students. In 1986, the school was selected as Tennessee's Center for Rural Education. In 1989, it was one of the 218 schools in the nation ot receive the National School of Excellence Award. Again in 1992 York Institute was recognized nationally among 140 public secondary schools selected as being one of "America's Best Schools" by Redbook magazine. Their achievements also include winning a girls' State Basketball Championship. One of York's most well-known alumni include Astronaunt Roger Crouch.


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