Following in Daddy's footsteps

In the middle of one of the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, I travelled across the state to take a teaching job in a rural community.  Early in the school year, I was approached by my assistant principal about taking a coaching job in a sport with which I was familiar, but certainly no expert in.  As time went on, I gained confidence in my teaching skills and coaching abilities.

Fast forward 31 years to the middle of one of the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression.  My daughter Sarah, a 2005 graduate of Thomas Dale, moved across the state to accept a teaching position in the rural school system of Galax.  Several weeks ago, she was approached by an administrator to consider a coaching position in a sport with which she was familiar, but certainly no expert in.

This week, Sarah will lead her Maroon Tide soccer team onto the field in her first game.  In time, she will gain knowledge and experience and will have a better opportunity to put her athletes in a position to win.  For now, she will show her kids intense care.  Sarah’s kids will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she cares about them in their entirety.  Winning soccer games will be fun, but it will never be the main focus of her coaching methods.  Instead, she will tirelessly work to assist these young women through the maturation process.  She will work to educate them on the importance of living a lifetime of fitness.  She will constantly serve as an academic adviser and help them learn that the sky is the limit.

Sarah just seemed to be dropped in Galax, just like I was dropped in Matoaca.  In neither case was it a part of our plans while we were completing college.  I am extremely proud of her, however.  I have always believed that teachers and coaches who show genuine care for their students are the most significant individuals in our society.

I guess I have lived my life as an example to Sarah, but I have also passed on a few rules for her to follow.

  1. Get to know your students.  Find out at least one interest they have outside of French class.
  2. Make a positive contact with each parent.
  3. Don’t accept failure, but, at the same time, make excellence genuine.
  4. Attend your students’ activities, whether it is the game, concert, recital or play.
  5. Get involved in the community.

My life at Matoaca proved to be permanent.  There is no way of knowing if Galax High School will be Sarah’s permanent career.  As her dad, it really doesn’t matter.  She has already achieved greatness!



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