Shades Cahaba Oral History Project

Classes started at Shades Cahaba High School in 1920 and has continuously served students in Homewood and other over-the-mountain communities for 100 years. This project was started to record the memories of those that attended and worked at Shades Cahaba and those that just have a great story to tell. This project will continue to the end of 2020.


Listen to the stories told by those who went to Shades Cahaba. Teachers, students, staff and parents. The shool means something a little different to each person.

Michael Gross and Homewood High Athletics

This is the second episode of my conversation with former Homewood High School Principal and Superintendent Michael Gross. In the first episode we talked about the beginning of the school system, opening of the high school and the unique challenges he faced.  We had...

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Michael Gross and the beginnings of the Homewood School System.

We have talked a lot about the beginnings of Shades Cahaba High School and the beginnings of Shades Valley High School but now I want to talk more about the beginnings of other schools in Homewood and the beginning of the Homewood School System....

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Wade Kirkpatrick, Fighting Patriots – Special Edition

The Shades Cahaba Oral History Project is going to publish some special edition episodes this year to celebrate other Homewood schools, the beginnings of the Homewood Board of Education and other events. We still have other Shades Cahaba stories to tell as well. On...

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The 2019 Year In Review

If you have been a listener to the podcast then you know this is the 100th Anniversary of Shades Cahaba as a school. The first day of school was September 19, 1920. There was a dedication held a few days before and It was...

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All About The Shades Cahaba Owl

The Shades Cahaba Owl has had a very interesting life. It first appeared when Shades Cahaba High School was built in 1920. It stood watch over the front entrance as “a symbol of learning to all who enter here.” It stayed there until the...

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Sheryl Summe – Author of “Homewood: A Life of a City”

When I decided to start an oral history of Shades Cahaba I knew it would be difficult. Luckily I was able to find people that I could interview and I have others who have become valuable resources for me.  What really turned things around...

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Show Host

Shawn Wright - Show Host

My name is Shawn Wright and I attend Shades Cahaba Elementary from 1970 through 1974. My first year was in Mrs. Lemmon’s 2nd grade class. Both of my children have attend Shades Cahaba and my youngest will “graduate” during Shades Cahaba’s 100th year.  

The Underpass

I shot this video around 2010 with my new iPhone 4. The video was terrific back then. I shared it on the Facebook page “I went to Shades Cahaba when the main entrance was on Hollywood Blvd.” There was a tremendous response from Shades Cahaba alumni. I thought you might like to see the Underpass.

Do you have a story to tell?

If you have a story that you think would make a good episode, contact me! Maybe you’re a former student or teacher? Maybe you worked for the school system? The stories come from everywhere and we want to preserve them. If you are in the Birmingham area, we will get with you to record your story. If you are are out of town, we can still record using Facetime, Skype or a similar service.

Homecoming 3

Blog Posts

Bands at Shades Cahaba

The last post featured the 1949 majorettes, but they are nothing without the band. Here are a few photos of the band in the 1940s. The featured image is of the 1949 band. The girls at the back are the majorettes featured in the last blog post.

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Majorettes at Shades Cahaba

In some marching bands, the majorettes are the featured performers at halftime. In recent decades, the majorette has been replaced by dance teams such at the Star Spangles Girls at Homewood High School. The photo here is of the 1949 Shades Cahaba High School majorettes. The last year at Shades Cahaba. Left to right: Joyce...

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Cheerleaders at Shades Cahaba

Behind every football team, no matter how good or how bad their season is going, there is a dedicated group of students there that have their back. That will rally the fans and help the team on a critical play, “push ’em back, push ’em back, waaay back!” Here are a few photos from the...

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