Oral History of Christine Kinlaw-Best


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Oral History of Christine Kinlaw-Best

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Oral History, Kinlaw-Best


Sanford (Fla.)
Oral history--United States
Elementary schools--United States
Grammar schools


Oral history of Christine Kinlaw-Best, interviewed by Mark Miller on March 2, 2013, for the UCF Public History Center's History Harvest. In the oral history, Kinlaw-Best discusses how she found information about the History Harvest, her family's attendance at the school building at 301 West Seventh Avenue since it opened in 1902 as Sanford High School, her family's report cards from the various schools that were housed in the building, what changes have been made to the building, how students were transported to the school when her grandmother attended, how children helped their parents farm when the school year ended, and the different schools in Sanford.

Sanford High School was originally established at 301 West Seventh Street in 1902. The building was designed by W. G. Talley in the Romanesque revival style. Due to an increasing student population, a new school building was constructed on Sanford Avenue in 1911. The original building on Seventh Street served as Westside Grammar Elementary School, which was later renamed Sanford Grammar School. In 1984, the building was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places and converted into the Student Museum. The building reopened as the University of Central Florida's Public History Center in 2012. In 1927, a high school campus was designed by Elton J. Moughton in the Mediterranean revival style and constructed at 1700 French Avenue. The school reopened on January 10 and was renamed Seminole High School. In 1960, the high school moved to a new campus at 2701 Ridgewood Avenue and the former building on French Avenue was converted to Sanford Junior High School, which was later renamed Sanford Middle School. The old building was demolished in the summer of 1991 and replaced by a $5.77 million school complex. As of 2013, Seminole High School offers various Advanced Placement courses, the Academy for Health Careers, and the International Baccalaureate Programme for students.


Oral history interview of Christine Kinlaw-Best. Interview conducted by Mark Miller at UCF Public History Center in Sanford, Florida.

Table Of Contents

0:00:00 Introduction
0:00:31 Reasons for attending the History Harvest
0:01:00 Items contributed for scanning
0:04:00 Experiences at Sanford High School and Sanford Grammar School
0:07:04 Sanford grammar schools
0:09:14 Closing remarks


Miller, Mark
Kinlaw-Best, Christine


Kinlaw-Best, Christine. Interviewed by Mark Miller. UCF Public History Center, HAR1063414P. March 2, 2013. Video record available. UCF Public History Center, Sanford, Florida.

Date Created


Has Format

Digital transcript of original oral history: Kinlaw-Best, Christine. Interviewed by Mark Miller. UCF Public History Center, HAR1063414P. March 2, 2013. Video record available. UCF Public History Center, Sanford, Florida.

Is Part Of

UCF Public History Center, Sanford, Florida.
Seminole County Public Schools Collection, Student Museum and UCF Public History Center Collection, Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.


"Sanford High School Report Card for Versa Woodcock, Fall 1907." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1508.
"Sanford High School Report Card for Versa Woodcock, Spring 1908." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1545.
"Sanford High School Report Card for Versa Woodcock, Fall 1908." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1543.
"Sanford High School Report Card for Versa Woodcock, Spring 1909." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1546.
"Sanford High School Report Card for Versa Woodcock, Spring 1910." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1547.
"Sanford High School Report Card for Versa Woodcock, Fall 1910." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1544.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Report Card for Madge Woodcock, Fall 1913." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1552.
"Versa Woodcock." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1531.
"Versa Woodcock with Umbrella." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1530.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Report Card for Colla Woodcock, 1914-1915." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1549.
"Seminole High School Report Card for Stinson Kinlaw, 1929-1930." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1528.
"Sanford Grammar School Report Card for Geraldine Rigney-Kinlaw, 1933-1934." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1542.
"Madge Geraldine Rigney-Kinlaw at Seminole High School." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1541.
"Colla Woodcock." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1540.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School First Grade Class, 1960-1961." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1512.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Report Card for Christine Kinlaw, 1960-1961." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1536.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Notice of Pupil Assignment for Christine Kinlaw, 1961-1962." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1533.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Second Grade Class, 1961-1962." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1513.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Report Card for Christine Kinlaw, 1961-1962." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1537.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Notice of Pupil Assignment for Christine Kinlaw, 1962-1963." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1534.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Third Grade Class, 1962-1963." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1515.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Report Card for Christine Kinlaw, 1962-1963." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1538.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School May Day Program." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1532.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Notice of Pupil Assignment for Christine Kinlaw, 1963-1964." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1535.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Report Card for Christine Kinlaw, 1963-1964." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1516.
"Christine Kinlaw on Westside Grammar Elementary School Christmas Parade Float." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1539.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Fifth and Sixth Grade Class, 1964-1965." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1511.
"Sanford Grammar School Report Card for Christine Kinlaw, 1964-1965." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1550.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Sixth Grade Class, 1965-1966." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1514.
"Westside Grammar Elementary School Report Card for Christine Kinlaw, 1965-1966." RICHES of Central Florida. https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka2/items/show/1551.




133 MB


9-minute and 40-second digital audio/video recording
8-page typed transcript




Moving Image


Sanford High School, Sanford, Florida
Westside Grammar Elementary School, Sanford, Florida
Sanford Grammar School, Sanford, Florida
Seminole High School, Sanford, Florida

Accrual Method

Item Creation


History Teacher


Originally created by Mark Miller and Christine Kinlaw-Best and owned by the UCF Public History Center.

Rights Holder

Copyright to the resource is held by the UCF Public History Center and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project

UCF Public History Center History Harvest, Spring 2013


Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

External Reference

"Public History Center." Public History Center, University of Central Florida. http://www.publichistorycenter.cah.ucf.edu/.
"Student Museum." Seminole County Public Schools. http://www.scps.k12.fl.us/studentmuseum/Home.aspx.
"Seminole High School." Seminole High School, Seminole County Public Schools. http://www.seminolehs.scps.k12.fl.us/.
Sanford Historical Society (Fla.). Sanford. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2003.


My name is Mark Miller and I am interviewing…

Christine [Kinlaw-Best].

Christine. Alright. And this is March 2nd at the History Harvest at the Public History Center—2013.


And we just want to ask you a few questions on what brought you here or what is it that you are sharing with us.

I found the notice on Facebook and so…

Very nice.

Uh-huh. I had you know—how you click, like, on the Public History Center and so I saw the notice on Facebook and saw the call for the local artifacts for the school. And so I gathered up some of my things for this school and brought them down.

And what are there—what are some of your things?

I brought—my whole family went to this school from the time it was built—when it opened its doors in 1902. Two of my older great-aunts though moved away, so I don’t have their report cards, but I did bring report cards of one of my great-aunts[1] from 1907, when the building was just five years old.

That is exciting.

A brand new building. So I have her report card from then. And I brought a picture of her so she would kind of go with the report card. And then her younger sister—my grandmother[2]—attended here also. I brought one of her report cards that’s a hundred years old. It’s from 1913, when she was here in the third grade. And I brought my uncle’s[3] report card from 1914, so that’s 99 years old [laughs]. And then my mom and dad both went here. I happen to actually have one of my mom’s report cards from here that actually, you know—it’s like the rest. It’s Sanford Grammar [School] and that one’s 80 years old. It’s from 1933. And then I went here all through elementary school, in this building.

Oh, wow.

Fifty years ago. So, our whole family went through here. And by the time my kids came along, of course, obviously the school had then been closed and not in use anymore as an elementary school.

Did your whole family collect this or was this your idea?

Ah, it was—well, my aunt had her things, and when she passed away, my mom got it. And when my mom passed away, I got it, so it’s been as, you know—generations have passed on, then it’s all made its way down to me.

So this has been a personal experience for you.


The entire school. Everything about that.


Is there, uh—for instance, what are the significance of these items to you personally? I mean…

It’s, um, my family [laughs]. That’s the best way I can think of it. Its significance is preserving my family’s stories. Just as my granddaughter now is excited about things, because I went to Seminole—well, we go back once again, Seminole High School, which is here. It was Sanford High School first, but my granddaughter likes to brag that six or seven generations have all gone to the same high school. And, of course, Daddy went to Seminole and played football for them. I went to Seminole and now my 16 year old granddaughter is at Seminole High School. So, you know, that’s what these mean to me, is, ah, carrying on the family.

Yeah. You—I think you have a unique story. I’m sure there’s not too many along those lines.


We want to thank you very much for bringing this in—it’s a tremendous asset. We want to thank you for that.

You bet.

Is there anything you might want to add about your experiences or anything you had in this school—I mean of this sort…

One thing I’d like to try to think of and remember is when my great aunt was going here in 1907, it was only just this building. The two wings didn’t exist yet and so when you—even though this looks so big from the outside, when you stop and think about it, you can see why they needed to add the wings almost immediately, because there really aren’t that many classrooms in just this building. Because so much of it was upstairs was auditorium and, of course, even when I came here, we didn’t have a lunch room in the building, we had to go out and into the back and have lunch out back.

So my grandmother told stories of—I was just telling one of the girls in there—when she came to school here, of course, there was not a “motorized” school bus. And so the horse’s hooves—it was a horse-drawn buggy thing, like a big trailer that had rows of hard seats and a top on it and it had canvas sides that rolled up. And Grandma used to always talk about how you could tell when it was time for the bus, because Sanford’s cobblestone streets—you would hear the clup, clup, clup, clup, clup of the horses coming and the kids knew to run outside and the bus would pull up and you got in the wagon. If it was hot, the sides were rolled up. If it was raining, the sides were rolled down and they drove you here to the front of the school and dropped the kids off. And then the “bus-driver” [laughs], with his horse, would literally park out back here, right behind the school. And he would just hang around all day. And ‘cause school was only a few hours then too, they only went about three or four hours a day here. So then when they were finished, he—the kids just all loaded back up in the wagon and he proceeded to drive all around Sanford and let everyone out again in front of their house. So that’s a special memory to me of Gram telling me about “the Bus” for this school.

Everybody had their chores to get home to and…

And most everybody worked in the field. Everybody was farmers here, in Seminole County. So you had to get home and work in the fields. They also went to school like four months out of the year. 


That was a whole school year. So the rest of the time you were helping your parents with farming. So…

Was it the same with you when you attended here? Was it…

When I attended we were already back to the whole full long day. Uh-huh.


So, I say that like “long day.” I guess every kid thought that about their school then. So anyway, that’s mostly about it.

Well, with the wings and the rapid growth, it is a testament to how quickly Sanford was growing.


And your family was definitely part of that.

One thing I did want to just mention to you—because for so long it was called just “Sanford Grammar”—but this school had a long period it was called “Westside Grammar” [Elementary School] too, and I know a lot of people think maybe that it might be a different school, but it’s not. This—this building was west—all through the 60s was called “Westside Grammar,” because at that time we had Eastside Grammar, which is the little bitty school over on Palmetto [Avenue] and we had Southside. All of them had original names. Westside, Eastside, and Southside. But Southside is over off of Thirteenth Street and so this building was called Westside Grammar for at least through the 60s, when I went here. All of my report cards and even the class pictures are all stamped Westside Grammar. So I just wanted to put that in too, so there’s not any confusion if ya’ll look at those and go, “Oh, that’s not Sanford Grammar,” ‘cause it is. It is still Sanford Grammar. It’s just for a while there was called “Westside Grammar.”

So Eastside was the original grammar school? Or…

Ah. Eastside is the one—the little—it was the Tajiri Arts Building, it’s on Ninth [Street] and Palmetto. And that one was built around 1880. That building is still standing. And that was the original and only elementary school and that’s why this was the high school and that was the elementary.

Oh. Okay.

But it was called “Eastside Primary.” and Southside is still standing. It’s a retirement home now—in the school. And this was Sanford Grammar and then Westside Grammar and then back to Sanford Grammar again. [Laughs]. So…

Which is the Little Red Schoolhouse?

That’s the one I’m talking about. Over on, uh-huh…


Eastside Grammar. I have pictures of it with the big sign across, over the door that says Eastside Primary. But all the celery farmers and the kids from the Eastside,like going out towards the beach—towards New Smyrna [Beach]. That’s—those kids went there and the west-side farmers, which were out First Street, like going towards Seminole Towne Center Mall. That’s where I grew-up. You came here, because you were the “westside kids,” and then the kids to the south of the city went to Southside.

Oh. That’s great!


If you have—want to share those pictures, you know, you said you have pictures of these time-lines. Anything of that nature, where you’re interested in, especially someone of such great experience with the school system in this area.




Well, thank you very much.

You’re welcome.

It was tremendous and we really appreciate everything.

Thank you. You bet.



[1] Versa Woodcock.

[2] Madge Woodcock.

[3] Colla Woodcock.

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Miller, Mark


Kinlaw-Best, Christine


UCF Public History Center, Sanford, Florida

Original Format

1 digital audio/video recording


9 minutes and 40 seconds

Bit Rate/Frequency



Miller, Mark and Kinlaw-Best, Christine, “Oral History of Christine Kinlaw-Best,” RICHES, accessed February 28, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/1667.