08/16/17 — Virginia-based educator with Goldsboro roots has school named in his honor

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Virginia-based educator with Goldsboro roots has school named in his honor

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 16, 2017 5:50 AM

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John Harper Jr.

A former Goldsboro resident will have a Virginia elementary school named after him this month.

John Harper Jr. has made his home in Prince William County, Dumfries, Va., since 1979.

He will be recognized during a ceremony for that district's newest elementary school on Aug. 24, Covington-Harper Elementary School, which opens in the fall to an enrollment of 500 students.

The honor is in recognition of his dedication and continued support of education and community work, officials said.

"I spent a lot of energy in this county," Harper said. "I mentored four years at the elementary schools and I was involved with the little league and Boys and Girls Club.

"I have been actively involved in many organizations that support education and supported our schools. I have been a standout and out front -- when you're out front people notice you a little bit."

Harper is now retired but said he plans to continue his volunteer efforts.

"I look forward to being active in the school because it's about five minutes from my home," he said.

The 80-year-old has been called a trailblazer in many areas, he said.

Since graduating from Dillard High School in 1955, he went on to earn a bachelors of science degree in chemistry from Howard University and a master of arts degree in business management from Central Michigan University.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the U.S. Army Logistics executive development course in Fort Lee, Virginia and the FBI Citizens Academy.

He retired after 23 years of service in the Army, where he was a Vietnam War veteran serving two years in combat. Some of his recognitions include receiving the bronze star medal with oak leaf cluster, meritorious service medal with oak leaf cluster, Vietnamese Cross of gallantry with silver star and the National Defense Service medal.

He also holds the distinction of being the first African American in several capacities, from being elected to the Prince William County school board in 1995, board of directors for the Prince William County Park Authority in 1985 and a department director of the Dale City Sanitary District and Recreation Center in 1987.

He and wife, Beulah, have been married 58 years and have three sons and seven grandchildren.