Members of the community gathered in Dumfries for the ribbon cutting of Covington-Harper Elementary School.
The school, named for former school board members Betty Covington and John Harper Jr., was named jointly to commemorate both of them for their service to the community.
Located at 2500 River Heritage Boulevard, the 101,288 square foot facility will hold more than 850 students grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
The facility has six kindergarten classrooms, 12 first and second grade classrooms, four special education classrooms, 17 third through fifth grade classrooms, as well as rooms for music, story time, the arts, and computers.
During the ceremony, members of the community spoke about Covington and Harper.
“I witnessed Betty Covington dedicate 54 years of her life to Prince William County’s education system and to our community,” said former Prince William Supervisor Hilda Barg.
Covington worked for Prince William County Schools (PWCS) for more than 50 years, serving in roles as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in addition to her time as a school board member.
Harper was the first African American member of the Prince William School Board and also served in the United States Army and on boards for recreation and arts in the county.
“We want to thank you for being the trailblazer that you have been – you’ve paved the way for many folks in our lives,” community member Melvin Brown said while addressing Harper in his remarks.
When Harper spoke, he pointed out that in a time with turmoil in the United States, the opening of Covington-Harper signifies the first time a black man and white woman have had their names joined together on a school in Prince William, and possibly throughout the country.
The school will open with all county schools on August 28.