"I had the good fortune of being hired--while still doing my student teaching--as the next art instructor for Cache Public Schools. With great respect for the first administrators, now deceased, who eagerly hired me and anticipated great things from me, I commend Superintendent Don Colwell, High School Principal Bill Dunsworth, and Junior High Principal Reford C. Ulrich. Over the course of the next eighteen years, I would be surrounded by wonderful administrators, fellow teachers, and other full-time staff members who allowed my avant-garde means of teaching. If there were any former students whose lives were enriched under my tutelage, a personal bow goes also to my co-workers, who helped make such impressions become realities. I also need to personally cite David L. Bryant, Junior, for the unique roll he played in my life. First, he was a stellar student for me. In his adulthood, he became both friend and teacher to me. His countless hours of unselfishly tutoring me about the world of computer technology changed my life and employment. Future hirings were, in no small part, initiated by something I produced for the potential bosses that David had taught me. My love for computers and technology remain a top passion in my life and, for that, a good deal of credit goes to my student-turned-teacher, David Bryant. Finally, I'd be amiss if I didn't direct my personal thanksgiving for the many wonderful students at Cache who shared classrooms and hours of training/hard work with yours truly. I often told them, 'A leader is worthless without followers.' Many responded with trust in my teaching methods and reaped the benefits their ingenuity, artistic vision, skills, and drive afforded them. Thanks to all of you Cache Bulldogs!"
"Things fell in place for me to transition from teaching at the secondary education level to institutions of higher learning. I want to thank all of those colleges who entrusted me with their reputation and the education of their students: Cameron University, Lake City Community College (now 'Florida Gateway College), Austin Community College and Tarrant County College. I especially have to brag on Lake City, Florida, and its college. My year there was downright magical. It was the closest thing to Heaven-on-earth I ever experienced and I still communicate with those I encountered there in 1999-2000. Not only did Lake City's President, the distinguised Charles Hall, and my eventual Dean Charles Carroll, take a chance on me, they let me flourish. As Dean Carroll told me the first day of classes, 'You're not teaching in the secondary level, anymore. You don't need to tell me what you'd like to do. You're the captain of your own ship.' I'm sure my former students would agree--due to such wide parameters--we all had a great time together accomplishing so very much in such a short period of time! I appreciate the unprecedented steps President Hall made to keep me at the college when I announced my engagement to a woman in the Lonestar State. Special recognition goes to the aforementioned Dean Carroll, who was the finest administrator I've ever met in my entire life.. It was easy to shine for the college in Lake City when you have leadership that fully trusts you to the point of keeping you on staff when you live hundreds of miles away and never set foot on campus. To all of you who crossed my life's path in Lake City, I offer my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the happiest time in my life."
"While a collegiate student, there were two individuals who put my Spiritual future ahead of my road to employment. Both of these men refused to part company without being certain that God was foremost in my life and that I was 'born again.' Larry Percy was my cooperating teacher during the time I performed my student teaching at Clinton High School. On our daily drives to and from the school, Larry and I probably discussed God--and my personal devotion to him--more than 'classroom chatter.' Larry, I loved having those daily nachos over at your parents' home where, once again, devotion to the Holy Trinity was the theme of every day! Paul Phillips--who God planted in my life first as a roommate and then a bosom buddy the rest of my years--did everything he could think of to be a witness to me (including the countless hours of playing religous cassette tapes in my presence while he and I did our homework). Nothing I could accomplish in life would matter in comparison to what Jesus did for me and what I could attain in the hereafter...and both of those men knew that and wanted me to land there someday."
"Finally, the last earthly group of individuals I need to thank are my families and friends. I saw, first hand, how difficult life was for students who weren't blessed with the same nuclear family love/upbringing and friends I had the good fortune of enjoying all my life. There is no way I could quickly, or effectively, laud my parents, sisters, and brother for the closeness we shared and their undaunted support. I have seen how God worked with out family, revealing specific plans and moving us toward very distinct events (like our move to Mankato, Minnesota, and the Wilson Campus School experience that so positively changed my life and formed my model for teaching). When I moved to Bessie, Oklahoma, as a first-grade transfer, I immediately befriended Kerry Lee Ernst and Mark Edward Bose, both of whom became like family. Kerry was ever-so-articulate and well versed in every possible subject, which was impressive in and of itself, but the love from his heart was even more astonishing. I was in the early throes of despair and divorce when Kerry--without any prompting by me--drove almost one hundred sixty miles just to be at the school doors when class ended one day, to spend fifteen minutes with me and make certain I was okay and to reassure me he could be counted on for anything I needed. That amazing, selfless act would, unfortunately, be shared on the last time I saw Kerry alive. Of all the people in my life, none have been as unselfish, God-like, attentive to my words, and unconditionally accepting of me than Mark Bose. How do words describe the man who has been my best friend for over a half-century? Thanks, for Mark's role in my life, also go to Mrs. Audrey Madison, the first and second-grade teacher Mark and I shared, who introduced us, and who stayed in touch with me until just days before her death. Mrs. Madison was the first of the elementary and secondary level, non-art teachers I had who inspired me and, indeed, whose distinct quirks as teachers I adopted into my own career. Mrs. Judy Jones, my fifth-grade teacher, was absolutely riveting to me and the epitome of love for her students. Though perhaps the most challenging teacher I ever had, Mrs. Walden (my eighth grade 'Honor's English' mentor) excelled in getting me to rise above challenges to not only succeed, but to try to leave such an impression with my work that it made it impossible not to remember me. My entire life has been driven by that way of thinking, Mrs. Walden. Mrs. Carol Rutenbeck, a very talented artist in her own right, I consider to be one of the finest instructors ever to teach in the United States of America. Many of the points and lectures I'd make to my own students were fostered by my own studies under Mrs. Rutenbeck. God let me walk along a golden road of bricks, each a person or experience in my life that would make a difference in my personal contributions to society and the workforce. May you be handsomely rewarded, by Him, for your work with me."