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Legacy of 14th Street School will live on

Legacy of 14th Street School will live on
September 21
09:20 2017

Thanks to a marker unveiling last weekend, generations to come will know the impact Fourteenth Street School had on the East Winston community and the entire city of Winston-Salem.

Formally located at the corner of Cameron Avenue and East 14th Street, Fourteenth Street Elementary School opened in 1924 to serve African-American students in the area. By the late 1930s, the addition of 20 classrooms increased the enrollment to more than 1,000 students.

Fourteenth Street alumni and teachers include students who went on to become mayors, professional athletes, city council members and even an opera singer. Fourteenth Street Elementary closed in 1973 and was demolished in 1977. Everyone who walked the halls of the four-story school building recall a family-like atmosphere that is absent in most schools today. Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, a Winston-Salem City Council member who taught at the school, said it was a wonderful experience.

“We loved our students,” Burke said.

Barbara Hayes, who also taught at the school and went on to join the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System, said it made her proud to see so many of her students during the marker unveiling on Saturday, Sept. 16. Hayes, who was a first-grade teacher at the school, says she’s thankful she worked during a time when teachers had parental support.

“Parental support is the key to everything that goes on in the school. Whenever we had something at the school, they supported it and they supported us as teachers and I appreciate that,” said Hayes. “The years at Fourteenth Street School were the best years of my life.”

Durham Mayor Bill Bell, who graduated from the school, was on hand as well to see the marker unveiled at the corner where the building once stood. Bell said when he heard about the marker, he made sure to mark his calendar.

“All the good things I’ve learned came from Fourteenth Street Elementary School,” said Bell. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Fourteenth Street Elementary committee Chairman Al Harvey announced that a time capsule would be buried next to the marker and will be opened in 50 years.

While the marker unveiling gave former students, teachers, and others in the community a chance to reflect on the past, many in attendance discussed the future of the site where the historic school once stood.

Harvey and other alumni made it known what they want on the site in the near future. The local school board has had discussions about the construction of a new Ashley Elementary School, which is currently located at 1647 N.E. Ashley School Circle, less than mile away from where the historic marker now stands.

“The memories of this site call for another school on the site. When they talk about building a new Ashley, let’s talk about putting a new STEM school right here for our kids,” Harvey said. “If we can ignite in our young people to achieve like we achieved, they can do better. They can do more. And we should leave a legacy behind.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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