A new alumni organization may be on the way for former Mount Airy City Schools students, and the group may already have its first project — a way to recognize teachers from the past.
Dr. Paul Webster, a 1948 Mount Airy High School graduate, recently met with School Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little and others at an organizational meeting for city schools alumni.
“I got the idea when I first became superintendent during a conservation with Bill Johnson of the Mount Airy Youth Foundation,” commented Little. “The idea sat there until our school strategic planning process. We talked about it as part of our key strategy on promoting a positive image for Mount Airy City Schools and made it a part of the process.”
Webster said the same idea had come up during a 50th year alumni reunion where he and others from Rockford Elementary School discussed the need to re-connect.
“Members of our group began to list elementary and then high school teachers who had an impact on us,” said Webster. “Of course, elementary teachers taught grades one through nine and were the most remembered, but we still had notable high school teachers. We had all went in 50 different directions and felt there should be some mechanism to honor teachers we’d benefited greatly from.”
Little said he feels the system has many distinguished alumni and agreed there needed to be something in place to reconnect them with the school and the community. He characterized the response as tremendous and the group is moving towards organizing an association which will take over leadership once the school system has helped it to form.
“We are in the middle of the process of forming this association,” said Little. “What I find thrilling as superintendent is the passion for the school system despite many of them being gone for 50 years.” He recalled how Webster, who is a professor of medicine and is training for a triathlon, approached him about participating in the group.
“He came to me and said he wanted to find a way to recognize great teachers of our past,” said Little. “Those who had impacted his peers.” He speculated that the group would concentrate on recognizing past employees of the school system and discussion seems to have centered on a Wall of Distinction on each school campus where these employees would be honored.
He said the alumni association would determine the individuals who would be selected for honors. This, in addition to reconnecting with alumni, could be the beginning focus of the association. Little said that individuals could even be honored posthumously with family invited to attend the honor ceremonies on their behalf.
“It’s the people who make Mount Airy City Schools great,” added Little. “It’s the people who’ve played a large role (in the system’s success). I want to emphasize we are still in the early stages of talking about this association. The association will determine its own nuts and bolts operations.”
Little said the depth of commitment to the schools had impressed him. He said one recurring theme among alumni and employees is “being a Granite Bear for life.”
“It’s important to me that community be involved with Mount Airy City Schools. We have so many great alumni. This is a work in progress. I love it when people get together and talk about how important Mount Airy High School was throughout their lives. It’s important to celebrate that.”
Webster served as guest speaker at the organization meeting. Two other 1948 graduates were also in attendance. They were Juanita Daber and Eleanor Powell-Hines. Interested persons may contact Alice Venable at 786-8355 for more information.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.