“The teacher, regarded as a semi-god, a community leader, a moral example, a foundation of knowledge, the symbol of wisdom, the walking truth of life, and an encyclopedia of culture!”
A most “fitting tribute” to the first generation of teachers at the George Washington Carver High School in Fieldale, Virginia, and to Black teachers overall.
When I consider my days at G.W. and reflecting on my teachers, I have some of the fondest memories and defining stories which I treasure and will continue to do so. I owe these gifts to the magical, dynamic, competent and inspiring teachers at George Washington Carver High School.
They taught and we learned. They spoke and we respected them and did our best to meet their expectations of us. They had high expectations and inspired confidence in us—the students—and we were motivated to excel. Their values were a re-enforcement of our family’s values. We didn’t want to disappoint our teachers such that they be forced to say, “I will have to call your parents.” No student wants to hear that.
They were tough but encouraging and patient to assist and aid us after hours, sometimes missing recess, staying behind after school, no playing to “get it” and/or make-up what we had missed. Maybe, a little too slow to grasp it during the regular class period. They were disciplinarians, encouragers, role models and cheerleaders for the students. Above all, they were the guardians for the race and expected of their students the same.
Students, “remember…you are representing your race, your family and definitely you represent me and my teachers. Your success is success for us all. You are a natural treasure for the community and the nation. Your teaching, example and words of wisdom, advice and encouragement is the “gold in education.”
Cloning you, the problems of education would be solved.
Love, appreciation and blessings for each of you.
Tyler C. Millner
(Editor’s Note: What began as a tribute to George Washington Carver High School teachers has taken on a new life, according to the Rev. Tyler C. (T.C.) Millner, pastor of Morning Star Church in Axton. )