You all have heard my story about Ms. Ann McKinney. She was my 6th grade teacher and the one I credit for saving my life. I come from a loving home of two highly educated parents and both were teachers. However, the saying is true that it takes a village to raise a child. My parents loved us very much, my home life was great; my school life was killing me. When I say killing me, I mean killing my spirit, my passion, and my motivation to do my best. It was my 4th grade teacher killing me and my 6th grade teacher saving me. I say that to say for me, my teachers literally held the power of life and death. Soooo, THANK YOU MS. MCKINNEY FOR SAVING ME!!!
When I think about other examples of the power a single educator can have in a student’s life, I can’t help but think about a man that has had a huge impact right here in Community, Mr. Leland Edge. That’s right, as in EDGE Middle School. I hope many of you have had the pleasure like I had recently of visiting with Mr. Edge.
Mr. Edge came to Community as the Principal for the Josephine Jr. High in 1963. For three years he was principal, taught 6 classes, coached all junior high boys AND girls athletics, and he drove the bus. (Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about what a typical day must have been like for him!) In 1966 he became the High School Principal and the head football coach. From 1968-1972 Mr. Edge was the CHS Ag teacher. His students won a State Championship in FFA Chapter Conducting in 1971. In 1972 he became the District’s 5th Superintendent where he served until 1987. Under Mr. Edge’s leadership the District opened a new middle school (now known as Leland Edge Middle School) and passed a bond for construction of the new Community High School building.
Mr. Edge is currently participating on a planning committee for our upcoming 70th anniversary celebration. Believe me when I tell you he remembers EVERYTHING. He can look at pictures from the ‘70s and tell you students’ names, who their parents were, what activities they participated in and how they placed at the state or UIL competition. It is amazing. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Community HS class reunion for the classes of 1947 – 1974. I met many of his former students. They all had many things in common but the most powerful statement to me by everyone I spoke with was along these lines, “I am a success because of this man here. He saved me.” They were all talking about Leland Edge.
How powerful is that?!! That’s what I want for each of us…to leave a legacy in the lives of the young people we are educating. Leland Edge was a blessing to so many people. And what a blessing it has been for me to be able to sit and listen to his stories, and the stories his students remember about him. And over 50 years later, they still credit him for their success and remember how much he loved them.
This is the legacy of CISD educators. We are standing in the shade of trees planted by people and educators like Mr. Edge and those before him who have been the difference in the lives of Community students since 1947 when this District was born. As we close Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to send you sincere thanks for taking care of and for saving our kids. The “life-giving” legacy is carried on through you! So on your next bad day...when you are struggling for time to prepare lessons or return a parent phone call, think of Mr. Edge and the hundreds of lives that were touched by the bus driving, football coaching, ag teaching, principal and superintendent who poured into the Brave Nation for 25 years! Remember that YOU are also saving lives!