Trigg County’s finest young people will walk across the gym stage, receive their diploma and head toward their next stage of life. Graduations can make anyone a little nostalgic. Every graduation I attend brings back a flood of personal memories of my experiences in the Trigg County school system and all the teachers that had an impact on my life.
One of my favorite things to do as a writer for The Cadiz Record is to mention those names of the past, even if some of them are not with us any longer physically. If you have ever had a relationship with a person who influenced you, then you will always carry a part of that person with you. I love the time of reflection. So here goes.
I hope you will recognize some of the names and even reflect on you own journey through school. Hey, email me some of your own great stories about the impact certain teachers had on your life and maybe I can share a couple of them in weeks to come.
In my case, each teacher I had brought something different to the table. My first two, Ms. Francis Handley and Ms. Earl Ford, brought discipline by the truckload. Ms. Handley could swing a ruler like Mickey Mantle swung a baseball bat. The older I get, however, the more I appreciate the teachers who believed in discipline. After those first two years, Ms. June Kennedy helped bring about a love of school when I was in the third grade.
The fourth grade for me was all about Ms. Geneva Guinn. I give her as much credit as anybody outside my parents for developing my love for reading. Ms. Guinn was also the first teacher I ever had that brought about competition to the classroom. We were constantly doing flashcard math games in which we were insanely competitive.
Fenton Dawson, Lisa Fuller, Rhea Ann Davis, Randy Braboy, David Cunningham were just a few of the ones that were in my grade that experienced Ms. Guinn.
I think most of those had her. The fifth grade meant Ms. Judy Thomas. That was one of my best years in school as she seemed to be one of the teachers that began to unite us as a class.
From there, it was on to junior high and the Quonset huts. In those metal Army barracks, it might be 30 degrees in the winter and 90 in the spring. It was my first experience with multiple teachers through the day. Remember any of these names? John Mull, Norris Baker. Joyce Fortin, Debbie Bridges, Martha Baith, Archie Brock, Skip Pisa, Howell Hargrove and Pat Hall. Each one of them had an impact of some kind on me.
After all of that, the high school staff put the finishing touches on me. Folks such as Ms. Marie Cunningham, Ms. Patricia Wilkerson, Ms. Jane Ellen Wilson and Ms. Nancy Perkins handled the English Department. Ms. Wilson’s English class still remains one of my favorite classes I ever took at any level. Heck, we even published a book as a class in Ms. Perkins’ Honors English class.
I was also fortunate to have Jim Wallace and Shelton Bowen in math and Bill Jones in History. I will never forget the sign over his door that read “Knowledge is Free, Bring Your Own Container.” In science, John Kaiser and Ms. Rebecca Cunningham did the best they could with me. Teachers in the electives also had an influence such as Ms. Joyce Bozarth, Joe Jaggers and the immortal Glynn Whobrey.
I have probably used something from all of those teachers and classes. You know what is interesting though? One class that I use every day of my life is one that isn’t even offered anymore, and it affects my safety more than any other. That would be Coach Buddy Perry’s driver’s education class. I still remember the lessons on preventive driving we had on the simulators. I can’t believe that class isn’t offered anymore, or at least I don’t think it is.
All of the above is said without mentioning any of my coaches who ended up being life mentors. Men such as Jim Wallace, Buddy Sivills, George Radford and Gary Siegmund.
I am sure I have left someone out because I typed this very quickly. I just want you to know that this year, as I watch graduation, I will be quietly reflecting and thanking you all for the impact you had on my life.
OT: Thanks to all who responding to my column about my difficulties with
the state of Alabama. Thanks to some superb work by our Circuit Court Clerk Pam Perry, the situation was resolved. Pam got to talk clerk to clerk, which I could not pull off. The problem was a case of mistaken identity. Apparently, there is another Mike Wright misbehaving in Alabama. I will be waiting by my mailbox for the return of the money I sent in a money order.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross
country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner
can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.