In a few days, three community members will officially join the Sampson County Schools Board of Education. But homage was shown to a group of individuals who served the district for many years.
During a Monday meeting, Faye Gay, Sonya Powell, Glenn Tart and G.H. Wilson were honored by their colleagues and received plaques. The recognition came as a result of a previous election and decision to retire.
Wilson, a former member of the board, was recognized for decades of service to Sampson County.
“G.H. has done an outstanding job for this community and this school system,” said Tart, who presented Wilson with his award. “He worked tirelessly.”
He was involved in several organizations and activities for the Midway region of the district.
“It’s true that G.H.’s blood runs Midway blue,” he said. “There’s no question about that. Everyone knows that. But I can truly say that G.H. did everything in his power for all four districts in the county.”
Tart finished his remarks by saying he did an outstanding job and was a tremendous board member. Wilson thanked his family and showed appreciation for his time with different members and superintendents. He also mentioned that everyone may not have agreed on issues, but board members still worked together.
“We did it to have the best for the children in Sampson County and for the employees in our system,” Wilson said.
He commended past and current board members for their work and stressed that public education is the backbone of society.
Next, Powell was honored by board member Mary Brown, who said she was wonderful during her tenure. Powell is currently serving as the vice chairman of the group.
“There’s nothing like working with persons who have been there and have done that,” Brown said about Powell’s educational background. “She’s been in the grassroots for 30-plus years teaching, working with our students and she was able to continue that desire of hers through this board membership.”
On a personal note, Brown added that she traveled with Powell “up and down the highway” to many meetings related to their positions on the board.
“You will be missed,” Brown said. “We really appreciate all that you have done and I must say that some of her experiences actually guided us in what I felt were some really good decisions regarding the school system.”
After accepting her award, Powell said it was an interesting experience.
“It was completely different than the classroom, but it did allow me to continue what I love most in life and that’s working with young people so they can have an excellent future,” Powell said.
Powell said she’ll continue to be active in the Lakewood district of the school system.
Retiree Faye Gay was honored by Telfair Simpson, who spoke about her husband, the late Nathan Gay, who served on the board several years. Simpson said his passing several years ago left a void in the Union district and Sampson County.
“We wanted and needed someone to step up and take his place on our board,” Simpson said about filling the void left behind from the longtime educator. “We all hoped that Faye would do it, but that’s a challenge.”
It was a challenge she was willing to accept when she joined the board and served the remainder of her husband’s term before being reelected twice.
“We were all so thankful for you doing that,” Simpson said about her more than eight years of dedication to the board.
Simpson said she was an outstanding board member who was compassionate and tough, when the time called for it.
“I certainly appreciate everything you have done and we’re all going to miss you on this board,” Simpson said.
“You never know what life has to hold for you,” Gay said while accepting the award.
Gay said she never had a desire to be on the board of education, prayed about joining and put a lot of thought into the position.
“It has been a very enjoyable experience and it’s been a learning experience,” Gay said. “This is a group of men and women that I’ve enjoyed working with.”
In the days ahead, Gay said she’ll continue to think about the board members and also enjoyed working with the central staff.
“You folks have been in the trenches and you know what it’s like to be in classroom and I hope you never forget that when you’re making decisions about boys and girls in Sampson County Schools.”
Chairman Dewain Sinclair honored Tart, a man he has known since middle school. They played sports and graduated from Hobbton High School in 1980. Years later they participated in each other’s weddings and raised their children and grand-children in the same church.
“He was a big strapping, strong young man, an athlete, but the largest thing about him was his heart,” Sinclair said while reflecting on their school days. “Glenn would give you the shirt of his back. He’s always been about family, the community, church and Sampson County Schools.”
Sinclair added that he was committed to his work and how he contributed his talents to the community.
“He’s very talented and his talents have shown on this board throughout the years,” Sinclair said about Tart’s 12 years of service.
Sinclair added that the decisions Tart made were always with students and staff in mind and said he was not a “puppet on a string,” when it came to making choices. Before giving the award to Tart, Sinclair said he would be missed. Tart expressed how he enjoyed working with school officials and employees.
“Everybody from the bus drivers on up to administrators, I thoroughly enjoyed working with you,” Tart said.
New board members Tracey Ivey Dunn, Tim Register and Pat Usher will be sworn in during a Friday ceremony.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.