Submitted by Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications
Students from Serenity High in McKinney ISD visited Ross Cemetery on Friday morning to pay tribute to African-American veterans laid to rest there. Moving quietly about the cemetery, students placed American flags beside the headstones of men like Walter Faulkner who served as a Buffalo Soldier during the 1800‘s and Charlie Johnson who fought in World War II. All across the cemetery, flags fluttered in the warm breeze, serving as small but poignant reminders of the enormous sacrifice these men made in service to our country.
Ross is the historic black cemetery situated just to the southeast of Pecan Grove Cemetery along Old Mill Road — the final resting place of many African-American pioneers of the McKinney area. Serenity High teacher, DeLana Cofield, a long-time McKinney resident, arranged the visit through Florine Henry who has long been involved in the preservation of Ross Cemetery. Henry took the opportunity to share some history and her personal knowledge of the cemetery with the group from Serenity.
The field trip was a thought-provoking and relaxing way to end the school year. “I’ve been to different cemeteries, but it was interesting to go to one not so recognized and see all the graves of veterans there. It felt good to give something back,” one Serenity student said.
For Cofield preserving the memory of those laid to rest at Ross Cemetery is important. “Those buried here deserve to be recognized as much as those buried in other cemeteries because they helped to form McKinney’s heritage and its uniqueness,” she said. “All of our staff feel that our students should give back in many ways, and Ross Cemetery will, hopefully, become a continuing project for Serenity High. We are grateful for the assistance we received from MISD school board member Wade Johnson and the Morning Pride Lions Club.”