Hixon named to AISA ‘Hall of Fame’

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 25, 2009

If there were an all-pro bowl for teachers, Betty Hixon would be a shoo-in, said Delaney Kervin, retired headmaster of Pike Liberal Arts School.

“Betty Hixon has all of the qualities that make for an outstanding teacher,” Kervin said. “She was demanding of her students. She was a good disciplinarian and she really cared about her students. She was my assistant headmaster for years. She was the backbone of Pike Liberal Arts. She is an all-pro teacher.”

There is no all-pro recognition for teachers but the Alabama Independent School Association does have a Hall of Fame for those who have excelled in leadership in the state’s independent schools and Hixon has been awarded the prestigious honor.

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Hixon taught English and history at Pike Liberal Arts for 32 years and was a positive influence on every student who passed through her doorway, Kervin said.

“Betty was the senior sponsor for many years and she still knows the name of every one of her students and she still cares about everyone one of them,” he said. “She touched a lot of young lives and still does today through her influence.”

As a teacher, Hixon has received many awards and recognitions but she said being name to the AISA Hall of Fame is a very special award.

“What makes this so special is that this award is a statewide recognition so it means that it came from outside my ‘comfort’ zone,” she said. “It is always nice to be recognized for what you’ve done. I’m so proud to be among the others who have received this recognition and those who have been nominated. Delaney Kervin and Dwight Ward at PLAS have also been recognized for their outstanding contributions to the teaching field. I’m honored to be among them.”

Hixon admitted that she was known as a strict disciplinarian.

“When the students got to be seniors, they realized that I wasn’t as bad as they thought I was when they were tenth graders,” she said, laughing. “But I would get on my soapbox every now and then. I wanted them to know that life is learning — that learning is not always in books. I wanted them to have positive attitudes and be enthusiastic about life and learning.”

Hixon said one of her students, Max Ellis, still reminds her of one of her favorite “sayings” – “If you don’t get it, it’s your own fault because it’s there for you.”

“They would want to know why they had to learn about adjectives and phrases and I told them because grammer is a means to an end and the end is for them to be a better writer. Writing is a talent like playing the piano. So there is a place for grammer in their lives.”

Hixon said she had no secret formula for discipline. She just kept her students busy.

“They said if I had two extra minutes in a class, I would start something new,” she said, laughing. “I always had every minute of my classes planned,” she said. “Of course, that kept me busy, too, but I wanted them to learn all they could and that meant keeping them busy.”

Hixon taught a total of 43 years and she said her association with young people kept her young.

“At least my attitude,” she said. “I treasure the times I was teaching and all of the good times and even the not-so-good ones. I made lasting friendships with my students, my fellow teachers and I am especially proud that I was chosen many times by my students to attend the PRAISE banquet with them. That was a real honor for me.”

And, if she had the chance to do it all again, would she follow the same path?

And, without hesitation, the 2009 AISA Hall of Famer, said, “Oh, yes.”