Ward judged worthy of high honor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2003

A man is often judged by what others think of him.

Dwight Ward has been judged.

The Pike Liberal Arts School teacher and former coach has been named the Alabama Independent School Association's Teacher of the Year by the Student Government Association. That was a great honor for Ward, but his question was "Did I really deserve this recognition?"

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Those who know Ward were quick to answer, "Very deserving."

Former PLAS Headmaster Delaney Kervin worked side-by-side withWard in the areas of academics and athletics for 22 years.

"Dwight Ward is one of the great individuals that has been in Pike County," Kervin said. "He is not one who wants recognition and he stays away from it. He is a hidden person when it comes to the being in the spotlight. I can't say enough good things about him, as an individual, as a teacher and as a coach. He is an outstanding role model for the students is a positive influence in their lives."

Kervin said Ward is also a leader in the school.

He works tirelessly and is always willing to go the extra mile to do his job better or make the school a better place.

"At one time, he coached football, baseball and basketball and was the athletic administrator," Kervin said. "He kept up all the fields and drove the bus to games. He taught Alabama history and world history and was my driver's education teacher.

He even did some janitorial work. My goodness, what more can you say!"

Kervin said his praise for Ward goes far beyond what he has accomplished on the field and in the classroom.

"Dwight was my right-hand man," Kervin said. "As the assistant headmaster, I often left things to him. I was gone every year to summer camp with the National Guard and he and Betty Hixon were in charge. I never worried a minute. I knew the school was in good hands."

As a classroom teacher, Kervin said Ward is second to none.

"He works extremely hard to be a good classroom teacher he is one of the best I have ever been around," Kervin said. "The kids respect him and he's never had a discipline problem. He was, and is, a great role model for the kids. He's one of the best and is more than deserving of this recognition."

Betty Hixon also worked with Ward, but she also knew him in another role - as her son's football coach.

"I knew Dwight Ward as Billy's football coach and as a fellow faculty member," Hixon said. "We were so fortunate to have a coach with such high moral standards. He is the kind of person that you want your child to be associated with. The ethics he displayed on the field, he carried over into the classroom. He is a very good history teacher and I enjoyed my years of association with him."

If Ward had any doubts about his being deserving of the award, those doubts were removed Thursday morning when he was recognized as the 2003 AISA Secondary Teacher of the Year during the PLAS Awards Day Program.

Ward received a standing ovation from the packed house of parents, grandparents, faculty and student body.

"I'm not big on awards, but I'm greatly appreciative of this one," Ward said. "Basically, you teach because you like kids and I enjoy kids. That's why I do what I do - the kids."