CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — An important piece of Chesapeake history has received some major help to preserve it for future generations.

The Cornland School off of Route 17 served as a one-room schoolhouse for generations of African American students.

A fight to restore the building got a major boost thanks to Dominion Energy.

For generations, the one-room schoolhouse was a symbol of a step towards equality for African American students after the Civil War.

Now, students who attended first to seventh grade in the Cornland Schoolhouse, like 91-year-old Mildred Brown, say they’re happy to see it’s being preserved.

“It feels good to know that somebody’s thinking about us,” she said. “Because generations ahead of us will be able to come and look and see what we went through to get an education.”

The Cornland School was built by freed slaves in 1902.

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Emma Nixon says her sisters and her mother attended the school, which she had to walk seven miles to get to.

Even though she watched other students pass by on a bus to school, she still fondly remembers walking to school just to get an education.

“A bus, a school bus, would pass with the white children on there, but it didn’t bother me because I know I had to walk,” she said.

Dominion Energy donated $25,000 to go toward the restoration and preservation of the building.

Bonita Billingsley Harris from Dominion Energy says their donation comes as a way to remind the public of the power of education.

“Especially for disenfranchised populations, economically disadvantaged populations, and minority populations, education has been the great equalizer,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see their story and remember how important education is.”

After getting the chance to see the building again, former students say they’re just happy to know this building — and their memories — will always be here.

“It feels good, it feels mighty good that I know where it is now and I can come ride down here and, and see it,” said Nixon.

The schoolhouse was placed in the Virginia landmarks register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Those on the foundation for the school say they hope to have spaces for classes to visit and learn about the schoolhouse.