Meet Sula Gower, Buford High School graduate of 1969. Sula is the daughter of Winfred and Geraldine Pugh. Three days after being born, Sula and her parents moved from Lawrenceville to the district of Buford; it was there that she spent the next 18 years getting her education and fostering a love and passion for Buford and its community.
Sula is a lifetimer in the Buford School System, starting her educational career in Mrs. Bagley’s Kindergarten class, fall of 1956. In her sixth grade year, she spent three months in Key West, Florida due to her father’s job change, but the family returned to Buford shortly after. Even then, Sula knew Buford was her home and was happy to finish school in the town she was raised.
In high school, Sula was extremely active, participating in numerous extracurricular activities. In the Arts Department, Sula was a member of the BHS Band and Chorus and participated in the One Act Play as well as the Region Literary Championship Team her senior year. Additionally, Sula played JV Basketball and was a member of clubs such as FHA, Tri-Hi-Y, B-Club, and FTA. Even with a packed schedule to keep up with, Sula was a stellar student and maintained A’s and B’s throughout high school.
Sula’s favorite class she took in high school was World History and was taught by her favorite teacher, Myrtle Davis. “Mrs. Davis made history come alive,” Sula says. “She believed in Triple A Excellence before it was Buford’s mission statement.” Indeed, it was the concept of Triple A Excellence that stayed with Sula long after her graduation from BHS. Sula shares, “Buford has always believed in excellence in the classroom, sports, and the arts. We were taught to be life-long learners.”
After graduating from Buford in 1969, Sula attended Gainesville Junior College (now, the University of North Georgia at Gainesville) and Stratford’s Women’s College. She completed her studies, Marketing and Merchandising, in 1972. While attending college, Sula was an active student, serving as a DECA officer and a member of the yearbook staff.
Currently, Sula is a substitute at Buford High School. With a heartfelt and passionate tie to her roots in Buford, Sula felt the position was meant for her. Sula shares how she feels her profession chose her, saying, “I have worked for Buford City Schools for 31 years in some capacity. After retiring, I was asked to come back as a substitute and I have been one ever since. Having been a student, parent, and a volunteer at Buford City Schools, it was natural to apply for a position as an employee.”
Sula now lives in Buford with her husband, Eddie Gower, and has one daughter, Mrs. Katie Duncan, an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Buford Middle School. Sula and Eddie have two grandsons, Jackson Perry (10th grade at BHS) and Ryland Perry (6th grade at BMS). Sula and her husband have owned the oldest independent sporting goods store in Gwinnett County, The Sports Connection, for 25 years.
Sula’s lifelong love for her community has been constant throughout her life and encourages her to stay connected with her roots. The BHS Class of 1969 just celebrated its 50th anniversary and remains a tight-knit group, still getting together for lunch regularly. “We are what people call ‘Old Buford’,” Sula says. In fact, she can trace her heritage back to 1819, when her 7th generation Grandfather and his family arrived in the area. Sula’s heritage led to a wonderful life in Buford, allowing her to form friendships, receive an excellent education, start a family, and find her career within her hometown. Now, Sula is a proud community member as she witnesses the success of Buford High School in athletics, arts, and academics. After all this time, Sula still agrees whole-heartedly with the old saying, “I am Buford-born and Buford-bred, and when I die, I’ll be Buford-dead.”
— Regan Saunders