Looking forward to continued growth

Published 6:33 pm Sunday, May 17, 2009

When I first arrived in Demopolis nearly one year ago, one of the first people I met was soon-to-be former Demopolis High principal Dr. Isaac Espy.

We spoke in his office for about an hour. It was around the first of July, so he had the time to give me all the ins and outs about the school, the school system and how much success both had enjoyed over the years.

At the time, my then-three-year-old daughter was a year away from entering the school system. Now, less than two months shy of her fifth birthday, she’s barely three months away from entering Westside Elementary School.

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Still living out of a suitcase at the time, our conversation did a lot to ease my mind as my family and I began to put down our roots here.

My brief meeting with Dr. Espy solidified something I already knew: Moving to Demopolis provided Lizzie with a great opportunity to succeed through the education she would be provided over the next 14 years of her life. The education she would receive from Westside, U.S. Jones, the middle school and the high school would all be bricks used to build the path to her success as an adult.

As time wore on, I got to know Dr. Espy a little better. We shared many lunches at many Rotary meetings.

Along the way, I watched the high school get recognized with a Blue Ribbon, signifying its level of excellence when compared to its peers around the state.

An impressive endurance athlete, I estimate Dr. Espy has run more miles this month than I have in my life. Seriously, the man runs distances that many people complain about having to drive.

In January, Dr. Espy was recognized with an award that I consider one of the highest honors that you can bestow on an individual: The Citizen of the Year Award.

His dedication to the school and its children, and the same dedication shared by the teachers, has produced one good citizen after the next.

Robert Frost once wrote that, “Education is hanging around until you’ve caught on.”

I would like to thank Dr. Espy and his teachers for hanging around these last few years, assuring that hundreds of students caught on in the process.

Now, our attention turns to the search for the school’s new leader.

I have full confidence in Dr. Wayne Vickers, another man whom I have come to know well these past 11 months, and the board of education as they decide on a new principal.

The groundwork for greatness for the Demopolis City School System was laid a long time ago, and many men and women have played large roles in the system’s development and its success.

I have no doubt the high school’s next leader will be yet another brick in that already long path to success.