Kennard has made big mark in small town

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 16, 2005

Teachers and principals can have an enormous impact on a student’s life. No one knows that better than Paramount School principal Abraham Kennard. In his 40 years in education Kennard has seen and done it all, but one thing remained constant. He always looked out for his students and faculty.

Kennard, who grew up in Demopolis, began his career in public education in 1965 and never looked back.

He spent 30 years at Birdine School in Forkland before taking over as principal of Paramount in 1995. In his many years Kennard said he has seen a lot of growth and change.

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“I have seen all kinds of changes,” Kennard said. “Every kind of change in the business I have seen it.”

Among those changes have been changes in his title. Kennard has served in almost every capacity a school can have on his way to the title of principal.

“I have come up through the ranks,” Kennard said. “I have been a classroom teacher, a coach, an elementary school principal and now here.”

As the old saying goes, nothing worthwhile comes easy. There have been ups and downs in Kennard’s 40 years, but through it all he said it has been worth the ride.

“It has been very rewarding,” Kennard said. “The greatest reward has been seeing some of the products of your hard work. Seeing them molded in the right frame and becoming good students with good character and making them a good role model.”

Even in his final days at the helm Kennard still praised his students. He said all kinds of unique and wonderful students have made their way through the halls of Greene County schools in his tenure.

“We have had some very, very good students come through here,” Kennard said. “From medical doctors, to politicians, professional football and basketball players. Just about everything you can imagine has come through these halls.”

Seeing special students every day has become a way of life for Kennard. He said not seeing their faces every day would be different. Some have even appealed to him to postpone his retirement.

“I will certainly miss the kids,” Kennard said. “I had one of my little kindergartners come up today and say please don’t leave. It is really touching.”

Kennard does not plan to quit educating cold turkey. He said he would continue to put time into the system and help whenever he is needed.

“I’ll be serving on a lot of boards and committee’s,” Kennard said. “I’ll probably serve in some advisory capacities with the new administration.”

A career with the accomplishments Kennard has made also presents many challenges. Kennard said the biggest challenge came 10 years ago when he decided to make the jump to a high school principal.

“I think the highest points of my career was being promoted from an elementary school principal to a high school principal,” Kennard said. “That was a great challenge to me to go from 13 teachers to 60 teachers to supervise. It was a completely new role for me and a challenge to see if I could hang in there and get the job done.”

AS for his retirement, Kennard has plenty on the table. He said he has several relatives scattered throughout the United States and plans to visit more often. He added some cruises might also be in the near future.

Kennard said he also plans to do some hunting and fishing, two hobbies he has neglected for the last few years.

Kennard has dedicated around two thirds of his life to educating the children of Greene County and will definitely be missed. The bad news for whoever takes over his position is there will be big shoes to fill. The good news is he will be there to help much as he has been for the last 40 years.