Carter Elementary School celebrates 20th anniversary | Community Spirit
Sonny Carter Elementary School celebrated its 20th anniversary and paid tribute to namesake Manley Lanier “Sonny” Carter on Thursday, February 27. Staff and students from Carter Elementary School's first 20 years gathered to “Challenge the Edge of the Universe” as they reminisced about the school's early years and celebrated its progress.
Sonny was an Eagle Scout, doctor, professional soccer player, Top Gun pilot, and NASA astronaut. He earned his degree in the study of medicine from Emory University, where he also became a professional soccer player. He played for the Atlanta Chiefs and in 1989 was inducted to Emory’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Emory now hosts the annual Sonny Carter Invitational in his honor. He went on to become a Top Gun pilot and NASA astronaut and was even aboard for the Discovery shuttle launch. He died in a plane crash on April 5, 1991. Almost three years later his name was given to Bibb County’s Sonny Carter Elementary School, which opened in January 1994.
Retired Maj. David Carter, a former mayor of Macon, was Sonny’s mentor and friend. Over the years, Sonny sent Maj. Carter photos with notations. At the ceremony on February 27, Maj. Carter presented Carter Elementary with two of the photos he received from Sonny.
“I think they will be an inspiration to all of the teachers and students,” said Maj. Carter.
Guest speaker John Clay Flanders, a former Carter Elementary student, thanked his former teachers for pushing him to be the best student he could be and for giving every bit of their energy to their profession.
“We had a great time opening this school,” said former Carter Elementary Principal Karen Yarbrough. “I served as principal for seven years and I can tell you that one of the best things about this school is that we were a family.”
Latricia Reeves, Carter Elementary School's current principal, said that sense of family has remained intact over the years.
“One of the things that has remained the same about Sonny Carter is its culture and climate,” Mrs. Reeves said. “I don’t know how you do that. That is not something that you can create in one or two years and sometimes that is not something you can even maintain.”
- Emily Brunner