REFLECTIONS AS A TEACHER AT WILLISTON SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Excitement is in the air! In twelve more weeks and this city will be receiving rolling the welcome mat out for former Willistonians!! The weekend will begin with a ‘greet and meet’ and end with a ‘farewell’. You just cannot miss the excitement in between!! If you are interested in the golf tournament, sign up now by calling 762-8285-you could be a winner!!
The privileges and pains of having taught at Williston Senior High School are wrapped up in what follows. On the last day of school in early June, 1968, I saw this young lady walking down the ramp from Williston Jr. High to Williston Senior High. She was awe struck. One of the rites of passage for Willistonians was to be able to finally study on the senior high side. This meant passing from the ninth to the tenth grade.
I approached her. With a voice full of pride, determination and more, she shared her life-long dreams. It was for the day when she would finally be entitled to cross the ramp into the hallowed halls of the senior side. She was not “officially” there yet. She felt compelled to experience the wonder that was Williston Senior High School. Her dream was shared virtually by everyone of those before her and those with her. It would remain simply a dream and no more.
A few days later, we all heard the painful news that Williston Senior High would be closed. Soon our beloved high school became a junior high. The powers that were, (unfortunately) to a degree, still are) had the audacity to decide that our Black Williston Senior High School was not good enough for a desegregated student body. Dreams and goals died. Our collective mourning is not over.
While there, it was my privilege to have taught some of the finest human beings who ever studied. It was an awesome responsibility requiring me to bring the best I had to the table every single school day. It was, and still is, my pleasure to have been a member of the Williston Senior High faculty.
My life still has a Williston imprint.
The shop teacher and his class built a planter and storage on my property that still stands. I constantly meet students who remember the government classes trips to Washington. I saw a student who had just graduated and he proudly proclaimed “that he had earned his trade at Williston and was on his was to a better life. So very, very many of Willistonians are leaders and builders.
I taught at Williston for twenty years, one year at Roland Grise, another eleven at Hoggard – I am proud of all three. My pleasurable Williston memories are to this day tempered by the pain of this community’s incredible loss. In my heart and soul, I am a Willistonian.