A. W. Orr Elementary School began its operation on September 4, 1962, with an enrollment of 309 students. There were 18 classrooms, one library, a cafeteria and one multi-purpose room.
The school was named in honor of Professor A. W. Orr, a native of Georgia who came to Texas at the age of 21 and who settled in Rusk county. Professor Orr began his teaching career in Smith County and later obtained his master's degree from Baylor University in 1866.
From 1876-1903, Professor Orr was Instructor and Head of Summer Hill Select School, in Old Omen, Texas. The school provided for boys and girls over a mutli-county area an opportunity of an education in the days before free public schools had been established in East Texas. Students could take studies ranging from grade one through college.
The curriculum offered the standard classical courses, but it also had business courses and a special teacher-training division to prepare young men and women for the teaching profession.
After leaving the Summer Hill School in 1903, Professor Orr became County Superintendent of Smith County in 1906 until 1916. He was responsible for numerous advancements in the schools.
Professor Orr died in 1924. On August 4, 1959, the Orr Memorial Association dedicated and unveiled a monument made of beautiful Georgia marble in memory of Professor Orr and his wife in the Bradford Cemetery in Troup, where both are buried.