Preserving history

The Macedonia Cemetery, located on Medlock Bridge Road near State Bridge Road, is in poor condition. But local students from Student Leadership Johns Creek are working to fix that.

The cemetery consists of more than 100 burial sites of formerly enslaved African-Americans and their descendants. But as time has passed, the site has fallen into disrepair, something the Student Leadership Johns Creek members want to fix.

“Through working at the cemetery, I’ve learned valuable information about Johns Creek’s history and the people buried at the cemetery,” said Lauren Larsen, who is the leader of the group from Centennial High School. “It’s important to preserve this knowledge for generations to come.”

The student leaders are working in several ways to make that happen. Two groups, one with students from Centennial and another with students from Northview High, are working under the supervision of the Johns Creek Historical Society to help refurbish the cemetery.

That includes cleaning and restoring headstones and footstones of the graves and mapping and identifying the unmarked graves. The goal, the group said, is that the area will “be restored to an area of peace and memory with a memorial garden.”

First-year members of Student Leadership Gwinnett are tasked each year with finding a community project to work on. That led the groups to the Macedonia Cemetery and the historical significance it has.

“By learning about the Macedonia Cemetery, I discovered that it is crucial to understand Johns Creek’s history and spread awareness of such areas in order to restore and honor our community’s history,” said Tara Ramesh, who is the group leader for the Northview High.

The students have established a website, macedoniacemetery.weebly.com, as well as a GoFundMe page at gofund.me/a07a6202 to help raise awareness and funds for the project.

In addition, the students have created an informational YouTube account at youtu.be/fJv_f-G_B5A. An educational webinar is planned for Feb. 4 to allow community members to learn more about the burial site from members of the Johns Creek Historical Society.

Student Leadership Johns Creek has been part of the Johns Creek community for eight years and is currently accepting applications for this two-year program from rising sophomores and juniors at Centennial, Chattahoochee, Johns Creek, Northview and Innovation Academy.

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