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Hampton Roads Community News

In the Community: Honoring Educators –1934-1969 – In Virginia Beach

By Ernest Lowery
Community Outreach Correspondent
New Journal and Guide

Former teachers of students attending Princess Anne County Training School and later Union Kempsville High School (PACTS/UKHS) gathered Saturday, April 9 at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach for a disciplined awards ceremony on their behalf. The program was entitled “A Legacy Remembered: Educators in Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach, Virginia 1934-1969.” Ms. Brenda H. Andrews from the New Journal and Guide was privileged to be the Mistress of Ceremonies.

“You know, education is more than being literate. Those we honor today understood that. We cannot afford to be a group of people who can read and write but make nothing out of it. Today’s honorees understood that education has always had a special role in the upliftment and advancement of the African-American community,” she stated, as she welcomed the full house.
Dr. Ray V. Spain, President PACTS/UKHS Alumni and Friends Association, greeted alumni and friends with the message of the importance of education and saluted the proud legacy that had been set by the honorees.

Also, the program contained greetings from Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. and Superintendent Aaron C. Spence, Ed. D. Each sent remarks applauding the sacrifices and dedication of the honorees in making Virginia Beach schools better. Sometime we can’t understand why things happen. As I was heading to the auditorium, I heard voices alerting me, “It’s snowing outside.” To my surprise, as I glanced through the window on my right, snow flakes were coming down, light but fast, based on a strong wind circulating. In a blink of an eye, they were gone. To me, it just let me know that God works in mysterious ways.

The teachers being honored knew the struggles that were presented to them during the early years of schooling for Black children in Virginia Beach. They knew what they had to work with and go through for the love and sake of educating our kids. So today, our readers, I would like to extend a moment of silent reflection to our honorees and those who have touched you in your life along the way … amen, thank you. Surely, you understand without the past, there is no future. It is said; “Teachers change the world, one child at a time.”

The honorees were given the royal treatment before the slated start time of 1 p.m. I watched them as they rekindled and exchanged stories about the days of past … as they centered in the cafeteria. I captured the sense of accomplishment and pride in their eyes as they readied to enter the auditorium, moving at a calculating pace … I surmised this is history in the making … another beginning! As you can imagine, there were many who participated and made April 9 a day to remember for the many beloved honorees. Please allow me to mention some who put the work in; Princess Anne HS NJROTC, Landstown HC Madrigal Singers, Rev. Dr. William E. Russell, Dr. Ray V. Spain, Dr. Amelia N. Ross-Hammond, Mr. Rashard J. Wright, Combined Men’s Chorus, Mr. Jerome Fuller, Dr. Joanne H. Lucas, Ms. Dedra Brown Wood, Ms. Brenda Riddick, Mrs. Margie Wilson Coefield, Committee Chairperson, Mr. Charles A. Willis, Ms. Janice Gordon Holloway and Mrs. Ruby Mann Pool … you all rock.

second teachers

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