The Mount Airy Schools Board of Education recognized outgoing board member David Rowe for 16 years of service at its regular meeting Tuesday at Mount Airy High School.
Rowe served on the board from 1996 until this year. Board Chairwoman Wendy Carriker cited his service as one of distinction and praised his professionalism.
“All I can say to David is that we may not have agreed on politics sometimes but I will pay you the highest compliment someone of our generation can get,” said board member Mike Hiatt, “you are a true Southern gentleman.”
Member Ben Cooke recalled how Rowe volunteered to attend his first school board member training meeting and thanked him for being his mentor.
“If I can develop one ounce of the passion you have for education, I will have done well,” said Cooke.
Board of Education member Phil Thacker told Rowe he had a special gift of helping people and thanked him for the last 16 years of “leadership, boardmanship and friendship.”
Board member Kate Appler recalled the years served with Rowe.
“You’ve always been there to give 120 percent to whatever is needed by any of the schools,” said Appler. “I will miss you. You’ll continue to do wonderful things.”
Vice Chairman Tim Matthews joked that the 16 years had seemed only like three.
“The vision and leadership you’ve demonstrated over the years has been invaluable,” said Matthews. “I don’t know how but somehow we’ll muddle through without you. I’m going to miss you.”
Carriker rounded out the comments by recalling how she and Rowe went to their first board member training sessions together.
“We went to board member 101 and learned to never leave a meeting unless we did something that we would have done for our own children,” said Carriker. She then quoted from the Broadway show Wicked’s song titled “For Good.” She paraphrased the lyric which says people come into our lives for a reason. She said she had been changed for the better by knowing Rowe.
Rowe began his speech by noting that some young students in the audience were looking sleepy.
“I had a long speech planned bu I’d better cut it short,” said Rowe. “I spent 12 years here ( in the Mount Airy School System) and the things I learned here I use every day. We worked together as a board and that’s a lesson in itself. At 68 I have learned that unlike when you are younger and think you’re here for one thing the biggest reason we are all put here is to make a difference in someone’s life. If you do that you’re a success. Celebrate making a difference in each others’ lives.”
In other action during the meeting Information Systems Specialist Justin Robertson told the board a grant application to the Federal Department of Schools and Libraries had been approved in the amount of $369,000.
Robertson said the money will go toward upgrades in areas including the phone system, wireless network and computer servers. He said the improvements were in the planning phase and he hoped to begin the upgrades this spring. He said the grant’s upgrades would lay the foundation for Bring Your Own Device programs in the district, finally bringing the high school into the educational wired community.
Mount Airy Chapter #18 of the Eastern Star was recognized for contributing $110 to the Hungry Bears Fund. B.H. Tharrington Primary School was recognized for earning the Signature School Award from the Piedmont Education Consortium.
School Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little announced the winners of the annual holiday card contest. The winners are Tharrington second grader Morgan Brinegar, Jones Intermediate third grader Jordan Hearl, Mount Airy Middle School eighth grade student Haley Hagwood and ninth grade student Keara Halpern of Mount Airy High School.
The Mount Airy High School girls tennis team was also recognized for winning the Northwest District 1A/2A championship, finishing up as Western regional Champions and being state 1/A champions in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
Team member receiving certificates included Cheyenne Rhodes, Lauren Brintle, Coleman Craddock, India Inman, Carson Orange, Carly Clark, Jai Daniels, Elise Holcomb, Breea Hughes, Sarah Kirkpatrick, Emily Pfitzner, Hayley Stancil, Carley Vanhoy, Eryn Wood, Davi Barbour, Abby Hagwood, Emily Lowe, Haley Thomas, Elizabeth Dinkins, Blair Holcomb, Jade Hughes, Jordan Jackson, and coaches Scott Kniskern and Rodney Pell.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.