Faculty Home Named in Honor of Mr. John Henry Waller
On a warm, sunny spring afternoon, nearly 100 members of the Chatham Hall community gathered on Halifax Road to dedicate newly renovated homes for Chatham Hall faculty.
After two years of property acquisition, fundraising, and renovations, the homes will be ready for move in for the 2019-2020 school year. But first, the graduating Class of 2019 got the chance to name one of the homes. They overwhelmingly chose to name 801 Halifax Road after long-time employee of Chatham Hall, John Henry Waller.
The dedication ceremony in honor of Waller included an introduction from Chatham Hall Trustee John Runnells, 2019 Class President Alexandra Casker, and Rector Suzanne Walker Buck. Four generations of Waller’s family were in attendance along with representatives from his church, Wilson Memorial Missionary Baptist, other friends, and countless Chatham Hall community members. After an unveiling of the plaque that will denote Waller House, attendees were given hard hat tours of the newly renovated property.
Waller’s pastor Anthony McClary noted how Waller has shown deep dedication to his communities over the years. “John Henry Waller is both a Deacon and chair of the Trustees at our church, and he ministers to the church community with the same kindness and love that he brings to Chatham Hall.” Rector Suzanne Walker Buck spoke of Waller’s impact at Chatham Hall in her remarks, “John Henry Waller has made an indelible impact in this community. Though a man of few words, his words, deeds, and actions are rich with meaning.”
Having served in a variety of roles on staff at Chatham Hall, Waller also served his community thusly. Chatham Hall Alumna Dee Guillory ’83 recounted Waller’s impact as a community organizer and civil rights activist in Chatham and affirmed how deserving Waller is of this honor. “This dedication is extremely appropriate given what he’s done for the whole community. As an African-American student, I felt that he took me in as his own family and helped keep me connected. Every time I’ve returned, he has been an integral part of that welcome.”
Waller’s son, John Henry Waller, Jr, explained how he heard of the honor. “He called me on the phone about a week ago with the wonderful news.” When asked about the shared connections between the Waller family and Chatham Hall, Waller, Jr. said, “They are second family to us. Our family is what it is because of the connection to Chatham Hall.”
With his soft, yet compelling voice, Waller accepted this dedication with his characteristic humility and grace. “Thank you all for coming out today—people from church, my family, my friends. When students come back, it’s just like my own kids coming back to see me. These last 65 years, I’ve enjoyed every minute.”
An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.