2007-05-24 / Opinions

You've made us all better

Tracy Moore was one of the Washington-Wilkes Comprehensive High School twelfth graders honored at the Senior Banquet last Thursday before Friday's graduation ceremony. As principal Andrew Jackson was making his closing remarks, he asked Tracy's father, Ray, to stand up. "I taught Ray when he was in the fourth grade," Mr Jackson said, illustrating the fact that he has been a teacher of Wilkes County's young people for 34 years. Then he asked that all his former students who were the parents of graduating seniors to stand. Those who were not included in that elite group gasped as they realized the extent of Mr. Jackson's influence.

Immediately, the entire room burst into applause and many of those standing added extra shows of admiration, respect, and love for a man who had helped mold them and their children into contributing citizens of Wilkes County and the world. Mr. Jackson has announced his retirement from the Wilkes County School System. He will be sorely missed.

Mr. Jackson's gentle nature and friendly personality made him everybody's favorite principal. His students were always happy to see him, to talk to him, and to learn from him. Naturally, they learned their academic lessons from him as he taught from textbooks, but more importantly, they learned many life lessons from the example he was and continues to be. As a role model for two generations of young minds, Mr. Jackson has provided that example with the highest degree of class, dignity, and integrity. He has shown how to be an effective leader without being bogged down by social issues or other problems outside the scope of his educational priorities.

He said he always wanted to go out with a smart class. Well, beginning with that fourth grade class that nearly sent him to the army 34 years ago, they are all quite a bit smarter just because he was there. And as he influenced all his students to be smarter and better, as they have moved on, his influence has now spread literally to all parts of the world.

All of this community, local and extended, is much more than grateful to you, Mr. Jackson, we love you for what you have meant to us and our children. We wish you a long and happy retirement and we hope to see you frequently as you enjoy it.

Now go out and "Show that Tiger Pride!"

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