The school opened as Fairmont Heights Junior-Senior High School, the first Black high school built fully with County funds. Then, as one of only two high schools in the County for Black students, replacing the Lakeland and Highland Park High Schools, its purpose was to serve the Black students generally in the western part of the County.

When opening with an enrollment of 738 students, Fairmont was the fulfillment of a dream for Black citizens who had campaigned actively for many years for a modern high school in the County.  And following the many years of struggles and hardships, it also brought a deep sense of pride, as evidenced by the support from the school’s communities near the Town of Fairmount Heights, and Blacks living in the western part of the County. As the first high school in the County to offer the twelfth grade to Black children, Fairmont was the fulfillment of a dream for Black citizens who for many years had campaigned actively for a modern high school. This “fulfillment” was reflected by the support Fairmont received, followed by the boost in student enrollment through the 1960s.

 During the early years, Fairmont was attended by two-thirds of the Black high school students in the County, bused in from as far as Accokeek in the south, Bowie in the east, and Laurel in the north. (The remaining Black students of the County attended Frederick Douglass High School.) In part, this, and the growth of the several communities from which the students were bused, contributed to the fact that only 10 years after opening enrollment had increased to more than 1,900 students. And to accommodate this, portable classrooms were temporarily utilized.