Fill statue void with school tribute

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Our county government now has a “Monument Circle” official address with no viewable and visitable monument.

Must we now spend even more taxpayer dollars changing our government stationery, websites, USPS Change of Address notifications, directional signs, EMS and fire dispatch maps and radio protocols, etc.?

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No, we simply erect and dedicate another monument. But to what? Here’s my idea: A monument to past, present and future educational institutions in Isle of Wight County. Is this brilliant or what?

We are rapidly losing the historical record, memory and recognition of schools in our county. At present we have only nine public and several private schools. But we have had far many more in the distant and even more recent historical past.

The list of these once well-attended schools and academies is long. They were and still are the foundation of knowledge and training of several centuries of county residents. Our seniors can easily recall the names of schools they attended, or knew of, that no longer exist.

We must now memorialize them for the edification of future generations.

Begin with the 1753 Elizabeth Bray Smith Free School in Smithfield and go through our county’s first integrated public school in the 1857 Jordan House, the 1950 Georgie Davis Tyler High School in Windsor and include the many African-American school buildings like the duplex 1920 Carrollton School still standing on Brewer’s Neck Boulevard.

I envision a small granite obelisk with the names and dates of these schools engraved in chronological order and leaving space for future schools.

Let us rededicate our Monument Circle with an edifice that memorializes and celebrates past and future educational opportunities in Isle of Wight County.

It would also save a bit of money by not having to change the work address of all our wonderful government employees!

What do you think?

Albert P. Burckard Jr.