Bird, Dale facilities named for longtime teachers

Facilities at L.C. Bird and Thomas Dale high schools will soon bear the names of educators who touched the lives of countless students during their tenures.

At its Oct. 12 meeting, the School Board voted unanimously to name the auditorium at L.C. Bird High for longtime music teacher and choral director Margaret F. Gregory and the athletic field house at Thomas Dale High after veteran football coach Vic Williams.

Gregory died suddenly on March 1, according to a School Board memo on the matter. She began her teaching career in Chesterfield County in 1987.

Several groups asked the School Board to help recognize Gregory’s contributions to the school, the memo says. The board also received a petition signed by more than 1,250 students, parents and faulty members asking that the auditorium be named for Gregory, it says.

Gregory was a teacher at L.C. Bird High for 22 of the 31 years since its founding, School Board Chairman David Wyman said. He said he could only imagine the impact she had on each and every one of her students.

After the panel voted to name the facility the Margaret Furgerson Gregory Auditorium, L.C. Bird Principal Beth Teigen said she didn’t think there were words that could describe Gregory’s impact on the school, and other schools, as well. “It is just absolutely countless the number of hours that Margaret has spent” working with students, she said.

Gregory’s husband, Andy, thanked the board for “this wonderful honor.”

“I do know she loved what she did,” he said. “She loved the kids she taught.”

Thomas Dale High and the School Board received numerous requests to name the athletic field house at the school after Williams, said Tim Bullis, the school system’s community relations director. Williams, a Thomas Dale alumnus and former Knights quarterback, was an institution at the school when he retired, having won 213 football games, seven Central Region championships and one state championship in his 23 years as head coach, he said.

Due to extenuating circumstances, Bullis said, it was recommended that the board waive the first reading and approve naming the field house the Vic Williams Field House.

The board unanimously approved naming the facility for Williams.

William Henderson, who played for Williams, said Williams asked him to share his thanks for this great honor with the board.

“He believed it was an honor to serve this school,” Henderson said. For Williams, it wasn’t about winning state championships, but rather about getting kids into the position where they could get college scholarships.

Thomas Dale Principal Rob Stansberry said Williams was a mentor.

“He’s more than a teacher. He’s more than a coach,” Stansberry said.

Gene Brown said he’d known Williams for a long time, and the coach was “always a fine young man.”

“He was a man of few words, but his words were always meaningful,” Brown said.

Bermuda District School Board Member Marshall Trammell said he hoped Williams was watching the broadcast of the meeting. Williams taught life lessons on and off the field, he said.

When the school system began going through tough budget times, Williams’ job was among those on the chopping block, Trammell said. Instead of complaining, the first thing Williams did was go to his principal. He then went back to school and got more education, so he could qualify for another position, he said.

“Again, Vic, if you’re watching, we love you,” Trammell said. “Good luck.”

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