TOP STORY >> Cabot celebrates its heroes of education
Cabot High School assistant principal Jacob Smith (left) talks with Don “Dude” Spence after Spence’s induction into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
By JEFFREY SMITH
Leader staff writer
It was an emotional evening Tuesday at the inaugural Cabot Schools Hall of Fame banquet with more than 300 people in attendance at Junior High North.
Honored as the first group to be inducted into the hall of fame were Dr. Jack Barnwell, Jack Carrington, Don Elliott Sr., Charles George Sr., Grace Golden, Margaret Kinley, Carolyn Park, Don “Dude” Spence and Charles Templeton.
The honorees have helped to shape the educational experience of thousands of Cabot students. They have inspired many and furthered the continuing growth of the district.
According to the Cabot Panther Education Foundation, “The Cabot Panther Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to celebrate the successes of public education by honoring talented graduates of Cabot public schools, as well as local leaders who have provided distinguished service to influence public school excellence.”
Superintendent Tony Thur-man said, “We have a quality school system that has been developed over the course of many years. It was certainly time for our school system to honor those individuals who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that every student who attends Cabot schools is provided with the opportunity to receive an outstanding education.”
Accepting for the late Dr. Jack Barnwell was his son, Joe.
Jack Barnwell was born and raised in Cabot. He graduated from Cabot High School in 1925 at the age of 16.
Barnwell practiced general medicine in Cabot for more than 30 years. His office was near the corner of Pine Street and Hwy. 367.
Before he became a doctor, Barnwell was the principal for several years at Cabot High School.
Joe Barnwell said he felt honored by the hall of fame induction of his father.
“I’m a grateful for the feelings and respect they had for my dad,” Barnwell said.
Another honoree was Jack Carrington, a former high school principal and football coach.
Carrington graduated from Cabot High School in 1950. He was the first All-State football player at the school.
Carrington was a Cabot assistant football coach and head boys and girls basketball coach in 1961-1962. He was the head football coach from 1967 to 1974.
After coaching, Carrington was the high school assistant principal from 1974 to 1976. The following year, he became the
Cabot Junior High principal. In 1977, Carrington became high school principal for 13 years before retiring.
From 1991-1992, Carrington was administrative assistant to the superintendent. He made a return to the high school campus in 1992 as principal. Carrington retired for a second time in 1996.
Carrington said, “This is heart-rending, and I appreciate it.”
Longtime superintendent Don Elliott Sr. was also inducted into the hall of fame.
Elliott headed the school district from 1963 to 1985.
He is a charter board member of the Cabot Scholarship Foundation, which was started in 1992. He served as the foundation’s chairman for 14 years from 1992 to 2006.
“I had some good principals, teachers, custodians and bus drivers. It made my job easier and I want to thank them,” Elliott said.
Another honoree was Charles George Sr. He was born and raised in Ward. He was Ward High School principal from 1949-1950.
It was the last year Ward had a high school before consolidating with Cabot.
From 1955 to 1963, George was the principal for Cabot schools for seven years and then was school superintendent for one year. As a principal, he oversaw kindergarten through 12th grade. George coached basketball and football for a year while he was principal. At the high school, George started chemistry classes and organized the start of the band.
“(Cabot) had less then 1,000 students. Now we have 10,000. It is mind-boggling,” George said.
The late Grace Golden was also inducted into the hall of fame. Her daughter, JoAnn Gross, accepted the honor on her behalf.
Golden attended first through 12th grade at Ward. She started teaching at Ward High School in 1942. When the Ward school district consolidated in the 1950s, she taught sixth grade at Cabot Elementary School.
Golden’s teaching career spanned 42 years.
Gross said her mother was her inspiration. She loved children.
Margaret Kinley was also honored. Kinley graduated from Cabot High School in 1954. Four years late,r she began her 37-year school career from 1958 to 1995. She was a first-grade teacher, then an assistant principal at Eastside and Southside elementary schools. She was principal at Eastside Elementary for two years.
Kinley said she was blessed to watch first graders eventually become parents, teachers, lawyers and doctors. She enjoys visits from her former students.
Carolyn Park was another honoree. Park has helped students continue their post-secondary education. She has been involved with scholarships for Cabot High School since 1975. Park has been the Cabot Scholarship Foundation’s secretary since its start in 1995.
Don “Dude” Spence was also inducted into the hall of fame. Spence graduated from Cabot High School in 1949. For more than 12 years, Spence has served on the school board as secretary, vice president and president.
Spence was also honored for donating land where Ward Central Elementary School was built. He has also held field trips for kindergarten students at his dairy farm. Before tennis courts were built at the high school, Spence let the high school tennis team hold practices, matches and tournaments at his home.
Also honored was the late Charles Templeton. His son, Ray, accepted the honor on his behalf.
Charles Templeton graduated from Cabot High School in 1935. He was member of the band and played football.
Templeton helped with many fundraisers, including helping to start the Cabot Panther Booster Club in the 1960s.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Templeton helped many Cabot students continue their post-secondary education by paying their full college tuition.
“There are so many people who are deserving of membership in the Cabot Schools Hall of Fame. I hope that it will continue to grow and encourage our community members to reflect on our school system and nominate those individuals who they feel have contributed to the success of our district,” Thurman said.
He continued, “We were very pleased with the turnout and plan on this being an annual event. Celebrating the hall of fame has made our homecoming activities even more special.
“The event was certainly a success thanks to the help of many staff including members of the Education Foundation and district staff,” Thurman said.