Stairway to Knowledge

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Many a memory has been made on the front steps of Suffolk High School.

For decades, SHS students gathered for pep rallies on the steps to cheer the Raiders on to victory.

Students ate lunch, chatted with friends, planned many dates and dances on the steep – yet inviting – stairway that lead up into the historic downtown school.

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&uot;The steps at Suffolk High School will always hold a special place in the hearts of all who ever went there,&uot; said Betsy Brothers, president of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts Foundation’s board of directors. The organization will be opening in the former high school in April 2006, once the ongoing building renovation is finished.

Now residents can honor the many educators who helped shape the lives of students who attended the city’s public schools, thanks to the foundation’s new fundraiser, the Stairway to Knowledge.

For a $2,000 contribution, people can have the name of any teacher, principal, school coach and former School Board member by having their name etched into the granite risers leading up to the schoolhouse. The educators being remembered can have worked in any school in Suffolk or the former Nansemond County.

&uot;All of those people did so much to challenge the minds and influence the lives of the young people in the city for so many years,&uot; said Brothers. &uot;This is a great way to honor Suffolk educators.&uot;

Lynn Barlow was looking for the perfect birthday gift for her husband, Suffolk City Councilman Joseph Barlow, when she received her SCCA newsletter promoting the project.

&uot;I wanted to do something for Joe and this seemed like the perfect thing,&uot; she said. Barlow was on the Suffolk School Board for 15 years, serving as chairman for eight of those years.

Nancy Webb, assistant headmaster at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, bought a riser in honor of her mother, Eunity Bailey, a longtime teacher and administrator at SHS. Bailey, who began teaching math at Suffolk high in 1954, eventually retired from the school after eight years as principal in 1976.

&uot;She was my inspiration,&uot; said Webb. &uot;She has always loved Suffolk High School and the school was a big part of our lives the whole time she was principal.

&uot;She was not only a special mother…but she was also a special part of Suffolk High School.&uot;

For more information on the fundraiser, call the center at 923-0003 or go to