Elementary School Family Comes Together to Give Building New Life
A nearly forgotten piece of Albemarle County's history will soon see new life. Alumni of St. John Elementary want to repurpose their old school to help new generations, and bring a community together.
The building sits quietly along a country road in eastern Albemarle County. Built in 1922, it has shaped the lives of hundreds of African-American students. Students who haven't forgotten where they come from, as they work to keep a shared history alive.
It's just four walls, a roof, and a solid foundation. But it's more than a simple structure. Rebecca Kinney, an alumna of St. John Elementary, said it is a "family structure that draws people back. Because we are like one big family."
On Tuesday, Kinney gathered with her classmates away from the rain, inside a place that still holds memories of another time. The school was one of more than 400 schools that once served black communities across Virginia, the brainchild of educator Booker T. Washington and businessman Julius Rosenwald.
But 55 years after learning left the building, memories are beginning to fade. That's why these students are coming home. They're working to save the school, and repurpose it. The building will house a fitness center, a small library and meeting space. They hope to create a community center for health and education, to give future generations a strong start.
Harry Byrd, an alumnus of St. John Elementary, said, "We want to see them grow, you know, there's a lot of growth out here yet."
Jean Payne, an alumna of St. John Elementary, said, "This is something that we've never had in this community. And I think that this is going to bring this community closer together."
You can help the St. John Family Life and Fitness Center reach their fundraising goals. They kicked off an engraved brick campaign just this week.
For more information on how you can make a tax-deductible contribution, contact Rebecca Kinney at email@example.com You can also contact the St. John Family Life & Fitness Center at:
St. John Family Life and Fitness Center, Inc PO Box 321 Gordonsville, VA 22942
Elementary School Family Comes Together to Give Building New LifeMore>>
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story