Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A "Christian" who's a Christian!

Last Friday was truly a busy day for yours truly (no pun intended). After returning from the TDCJ security re-training in Dilley, I changed my clothes and went to the Muledome at Alamo Heights High School. This was the site for the formal retirement ceremony for the AHISD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Christian. I was late arriving, and cannot speak for what activities I missed. (These were probably performances by various student groups.) However, I did get to witness the farewell speeches and presentations of various officials, including the honoree himself.

Superintendent Christian has something in common with yours truly: a weight problem. Thanks to the speeches and to a slide show of his life (from baby pictures on!), found out that we two had more significant things in common!

In my four plus years of working in the AHISD as a substitute teacher I had developed a deep respect for the Superintendent. Indeed, from the first time I met "Dr. C", as he's affectionately called around the School District, I held one of those sensations that once in a great while I get upon meeting a certain person for the first time: that this person is very, very good at what he or she does and is someone well worth knowing. To be sure, I'd long ago concluded that the excellent reputation of the school district was due at least in part to great leadership, of the "Super" as well as of the School Board.

But on top of such esteem I also harbored a strong sense that with this man "Christian" wasn't just his family name, that it was his heart's faith, too. And such turned out to be the case. His successor is Dr. Kevin Brown, formerly the capable Director of Personnel for AHISD. Kevin, I think it was, in his speech this evening in the Muledome, made mention of Jerry Christian's faith and how it had informed his work as Superintendent. Other speakers may also have referred to the faith element in the retiree's life and work. But when "Dr. C" himself was speaking, placing much emphasis on his family -- all of his children, grandchildren and siblings were in attendance -- he remarked that a highlight of his life had been when he baptised his own son! Well! can I relate to that or what? You see, I'm blessed to remember that I immersed both of my children, and likewise those two baptisms are highlights of my memories!

So the two of us share not only a love of public education and a love of eating but also a faith in Christ. But wait! there was more! One of the slides in the slide show pictured "Dr. C" playing an acoustic guitar. Well "me too" on that talent (or hobby at least)! And during his speech, the retiree stepped away from the podium and to a nearby piano, to play us one of his favorite songs while he sang it. And once again, me, too, on this talent (or hobby at least)! However, I admit that I haven't played the piano much since the lessons ceased toward the end of my seventh grade year. I know I wouldn't have sounded as good on the ivories as did Jerry Christian this evening!

All in all, the retirement ceremony was a memorable celebration of memories. In which we of Alamo Heights honored one who had provided memorably excellent leadership for an excellent school district.

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