If everyone had a neighbor like me…'
This "Bragging Rights" story about retired educator Gloria Williams was submitted by Robert M. Markham, deputy superintendent of the Meridian Public School District, for a recently published special edition called Profile 2004: Building Bridges. This story could not run in the Profile edition due to space limitations, but The Meridian Star is happy to present it on today's Education Page.
By Robert M. Markham / special to The Star
March 4, 2004
My neighbor, Mrs. Gloria Williams is a retired Meridian junior high school counselor, high school and college teacher and a friend of youth, teachers, parents and administrators.
I worked with Gloria for 13 years at Kate Griffin Junior High School and two years at Harris High/Junior College. She has always been a student's best friend when they needed someone to lean on.
If students needed clothes, she got them. If they were having family problems, she was there to help, advise and counsel. If there were students with financial problems, she found money to help. If they had disciplinary problems, she was there to offer behavioral modification plans, mentor and arrange conferences for the parents, teachers, student and administrator, involving the juvenile authorities when necessary.
If students were not attending school, she called and even made some home visits. When teenagers became sexually active, pregnant, or ran with the wrong crowd, again there was counseling, medical advice, care and concern.
When Mrs. Williams retired from Meridian Public Schools, it was a sad day for all. We knew she would continue to be involved in public education, but we just didn't know how. Gloria immediately took a job in adult education at East Mississippi Correctional Facility and continued her work in teaching and counseling.
Each Christmas, she sends a letter to local businesses, churches and friends, asking for monetary donations to help some of the prisoners who are trying to get high school diplomas. She only tries to help those who are trying to help themselves. The donations are used to purchase gifts for the inmates.
Gloria is motivated with a sharp mind, caring attitude and a big, big heart. I am proud to have Mrs. Gloria Williams as my neighbor, friend and unsung hero.
If everyone had a neighbor like me, oh how wonderful this world would be.