Bully for her

Dear Ace: Can you find out who this Buford character was? And why did they name a middle school after him?—Ed Ukate

Ed: Although Ace loves nothing more than to sink his teeth into a good “Why’s such and such named such and such?” question, might he just take this moment to point out your (rather sexist) implication that it’s impossible for this school to be named after a woman? Actually, on second thought, he won’t. Ace is betting that you, faithful reader, will be chiding yourself for your pretty silly mistake in the very near future.

Florence Buford was a local Charlottesville educator. She was Clark Elementary School’s principal when it opened in 1931, and she continued to run the show all the way to her retirement in 1964. In 1962, as Charlottesville started to tinker with the notion of junior high schools, the powers that be decided to open two; there would be one on each end of town. Buford Middle School (along with Walker Upper Elementary, then called simply Walker School) opened in 1966.

Ace has to admit, this is a bit of a sore subject. When Ace was but a small boy, Mother Atkins was so keen on keeping him around that she “home-schooled” (read: let Ace sleep in and eat pancakes) him. No pity, please. (It wasn’t until later, in college, that Ace learned all he’d ever really need to know. Trust him.) Either way, he didn’t get the whole “elementary school” experience that he’d so badly wanted. He had friends, don’t get him wrong, but there was no back pack. And no pencil pouch. And no bully on the playground.
But Ace digresses. In 1988, only a year before Ace became the pen-wielding investigative dynamo you know and love today, Walker School became Walker Upper Elementary, cutting off seventh and eighth grades and honing in on fifth and sixth. Which means that Buford Middle School was (and still is!) Charlottesville’s only middle school. Now that he’s got that cleared up, here’s a question for you, Ed: Are you gonna give Ace your lunch money, or does he have to get rough?

Sorry, Ace didn’t mean that. He’s just always wanted to say it.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 18 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to ace@c-ville.com.

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