Northside High School turned to community center offers resources to Gretna community

The Gospel Tabernacle Community Center will hold banquet on Saturday at 6 p.m.

GRETNA, Va. – Walking through the hallways of Northside High School brings back memories for former student and teacher Henry Myers.

"To me it was rather disciplined. There were great times when the athletic team won, the band, the chorus. And there were those sad times when we lost," Myers said.

Northside High was an all African-American school for students in Pittslyvania County until the late 60s, when it integrated and became a middle school. It eventually closed in the early 2000s.

"Teachers made sure you obeyed and if you didn't then they told you about it in a very unquestionable way. And they made sure your parents got the word also," Myers said.

Fast forward more than 40 years; a local pastor and his staff are putting the old building to good use. But they say not many neighbors know about it.

"We are here for everybody. It's not just the youth. Our main focus is the youth. We're trying to give them somewhere to go for the summer so they're not out doing things they shouldn't be," said Christina Stone, executive assistant of Gospel Tabernacle Community Center.

In the old classrooms, there's a computer lab, a fully equipped gym, a flea market, and a place to host tutoring programs for young people.

"It's one of the greatest programs that we have because it helps them prepare for SOLs. It helps them keep their grades up if they're willing to do the work," Stone said.

The Gospel Tabernacle Community Center will be holding a banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday at 203 Northside Drive, Gretna, Virginia. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door.

There's still a lot of work to be done in the building. Organizers hope their community banquet on Saturday will help shed more light on their efforts in keeping a key part of Gretna's history alive.

"I would hope that this will be a part of this community henceforth and forever more," Myers said.