75th Anniversary Reflections: The Fire of 1988

Published On: February 26th, 2024 | Categories: Food for Thought |

As we continue to celebrate 75 years of Learning for LIFE, we want to pause to appreciate the Powhatan Spirit. It is a spirit of giving, belonging, and joining together to support our students, school, and overall mission. We believe that our community is one of growth, connection, and generosity and we embody this belief through our pillars and everyday experiences.

It was on this day in 1988 when we truly saw the influence the Powhatan Spirit has on the resiliency and strength of our school.

On February 26, 1988, a tragic accident happened at Powhatan School. That Friday morning, an electrical issue caused a fire in the main school building. By 8:30 am, the beautiful and historic 87 year-old building which housed kindergarten, 4th and 5th grades, music, art, administration and the computer rooms was completely destroyed.

While the school building was lost, something deeper was found within the Powhatan community. Unbelievably, students and faculty lost just three and a half days of school and were able to return to school Wednesday afternoon, due to the incredible outpouring of support from the community.

What followed was unprecedented! Not only did students return to the classrooms on campus, the community vowed to rebuild Powhatan. Parents, friends and community members poured out immediate and generous financial support and commitment over the course of just a few months to ensure that there would be a Powhatan for years and generations to come.

Over the next two years, students watched the meaningful process of rebuilding as the community pulled together in a spirit of perseverance to rebuild Powhatan and ensure the students’ highest quality education.

Much of Powhatan’s heartbeat was the same as we know it today. We even found photos of Mr. Legge teaching science to eager students and the 8th Grade preparing to perform Shakespeare under Mr. Bell’s direction!

On this anniversary of that fire and in honor of the generosity that followed, we pause to appreciate the vision and sacrifice of those who rebuilt the school so that future generations would benefit from it and still do today. Thank you for embodying the Powhatan Spirit in every way! Your Powhatan Spirit inspires us all to dream about what we can do together as a community – both for today and the next 75 years.