Leontyne Peck, an author and educator, of Charlottesville, Virginia, said that people have always asked her where she is from, and with great pride she can say “Piedmont, West Virginia.”

Leontyne Peck, an author and educator, of Charlottesville, Virginia, said that people have always asked her where she is from, and with great pride she can say “Piedmont, West Virginia.”
She said she remembered the journey of education which started for her at Keyser when she entered first grade in 1965.
Peck said of that first year, “I was the only African American girl in the first grade.”
She remembered her teachers as Miss Stullenbarger, Grace Bosley, and Carol Raines, “Who was caring and loving, teaching me to be what I am.”
Mentioning other instructors, Peck said, “There was Mrs. Iverson, who was “so precise,” and Mrs. Twigg wanting to make sure, “I always kept my standards high.”
Adding to the list of remarkable teachers, Peck said Robin Mussen, “Sent us on a course,” which allowed the students in her French class to visit France.
Peck spoke about Miss Coleman, “My first teacher of color,” which was historic, and, “She made me understand segregation.”
She said that all the administrators and teachers encountered during primary and high school “wanted us to be successful” and were encouraged to go to college.
Peck said that the celebration of the three schools and the community “is leaving a legacy for each of us.”
Jean Marple, a former student of the Beryl School, said that she had many memories of that small school.
She said the Beryl School had three rooms, and later a cafeteria was added.
“I remember having my name on a tag above the nail where I hung my coat,” Marple said, and, “We received a first-rate education at the Beryl School.
“In our world, what we didn’t know, wasn’t important,” she said, however, she remembers stopping every morning when arriving at school “to salute the American Flag and to say the Lord’s Prayer.”
She added, “We always said grace before lunch, “as she wonders what has happened to those traditions today.
Marple said the Beryl School was through the sixth grade, and, “We started seventh grade at Piedmont High School.”
“Attending Beryl School had an impact on my life,” she said, and, “I will hold the memories in my heart for the rest of my life.”