Son honors mother at CHHS program

Published 9:10 pm Friday, February 19, 2010

Charles Henderson High School’s Black History Month program is an annual affair, but this year the program was a little different.

Students still gathered in the CHHS gym, listened to songs performed by the school’s band and choir and were addressed by an accomplished keynote speaker.

But while the program was to celebrate February’s black history month, it was also to especially honor one of the long-time employees of the Troy City Schools System — Mary Noble.

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Noble, record clerk at CHHS, will retire in June after 22 years in the school system.

“Thank you Mr. Helms, Dr. Felton-Smith and the entire student body for allowing me to come do something I’ve always wanted to do — tell my mother, Mary Noble, how much I absolutely love her and how much she’s made a difference in my life,” said Michael Sibley, director of communications for the Alabama State Department of Education and keynote speaker.

Sibley, a graduate of CHHS himself, told students gathered at the program not about the past but about the future.

“I know this is black history month, but I promise you what I have to say transcends ethnicity, it transcends race and it transcends gender,” Sibley said.

The heart of this transcending message — challenge.

“Challenge yourself to do anything you desire. It takes determination and courage to reach the full measure of potential,” Sibley said.

“You may have an interest in student government or the debate team. Whatever it is, push yourself to do that.

“For some of you that might be staying in high school because it’s not easy.”

Sibley, who moved to CHHS from out of state in the 10th grade, said he knows well that finishing high school isn’t the easiest of tasks.

“I was sent to alternative school on at least one occasion. I say that to say I’m not proud I didn’t do what I’m asking you to do,” Sibley said.

“What I am proud of is I didn’t quit. I did get to the point where I did what I’m asking you to do today.”

Sibley, a graduate of Troy University’s master of science in management program, also recently obtained his doctorate degree in education leadership, policy and law.

“I’m going to try to achieve something I didn’t think I could achieve. Whatever it is you want to do, challenge yourself to do more than you think you can,” he said.

Noble knew her son would address the students at the black history program, but she didn’t know it would be on her behalf.

“I am truly grateful. I didn’t expect it,” Noble said.

Noble has worked as the record clerk at CHHS for the last 12 years.

Prior to that she was a teacher’s aide for kindergarten students at Troy Elementary School.

In her time, she has watched students go from their first day of school to their last, and that’s something that has truly made the efforts worthwhile.

“I enjoy the people most of all and the children,” she said.

And, people have enjoyed her, as well.

“You don’t see Ms. Noble a lot,” Helms said to the students Friday morning. “She’s working behind the scenes doing a lot more than you realize for you.”