Firm, But a friend
Most graduates of Huguenot High School in Richmond, Virginia return for the big basketball games because they want to see old friends and favorite teachers. But many also come back for another reason: to thank security specialist Gordon Walker.
“I have everyone from the worst of the drug dealers to the honor students coming by to hug me,” says Walker. “I think the term is `tough love’ and I had to do a lot of that.”
Walker has made himself a rock-like presence in these young people’s lives and helped make their school a better place.
“They never had volleyball at Huguenot High,” this NEA member points out. “I approached the administration and they agreed to finance it.”
“The physical education teacher and I also initiated a strength training program for the advanced P.E. class and an after-school program for all athletes.”
At every turn, Walker is there to lend a hand.
“If a kid needs money to eat, I go into my pocket,” he says. “I find out what is needed by looking around and asking questions.”
Be it working concession stands to send the volleyball team to camp or taking students to fill out job applications, this mentor has made his own answers.
“I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I went to the school system,” concludes the former police officer, “but these students appreciate someone who is firm and a friend.”
Copyright National Education Association Sep 1997
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