Buena Vista high schoolers study historic Colored School

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 4:28 PM EST
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BUENA VISTA, Va. (WDBJ) - Some high schoolers had a close encounter with local history, researching the old Colored School, which operated in Buena Vista in the time of segregation. They’re being called the Junior Colored School Historical Society.

“It’s good to be able to actually see,” said Danta Thompson, the interim president of the Colored School Historical Society. “And it’s like reaching back in history and getting an idea of what it was like, and bringing forth and understanding the difference.”

The Parry McCluer students are tasked with learning more about a building they may have seen every day, but knew little about.

“I live pretty close, so I drive past this building every day,” said junior Alea Husaw. “So, when I got the opportunity to come and look at it, I was like: of course!”

Efforts continue to restore the old school, both to preserve its story and make it available as a community center.

“I knew a little bit about it, just hearing about it, but I didn’t really know as much as I’ve Learned now,” said sophomore Trinity Campbell.

Restoring the old school and preserving its story was a personal goal of Irma Thompson, Danta’s mother.

“As she was strolling through the building,” Danta Thompson said, “And she was saying, you know, that that was her desire, to see it completed.”

She died early last year, at 102, but her daughter hopes to pass her interest in the work to a new generation.

“I certainly cannot fill my mother’s shoes, and I’m not going to try,” Thompson said. “But I’m going to do those things that I know would bring a smile to her heart and lighten her spirit.”

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