Rotary donates $5k to Tryon Elementary

Published 5:53 pm Friday, October 21, 2011

Rotary President Gorden Threlfall (right) thanks former Tryon Elementary Principal Walker Williams (second from right) for his contribution to local youth. Tryon Elementary School Librarian Kathy Wheaton and TES students, left to right, Jacob Grigg, Ian Anderson, Geanine Jackson and Izzy Jackson were also present with current Principal Ott Sizemore, center, to honor Williams. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

The Rotary Club of Tryon Thursday, Oct. 20 presented a $5,000 donation to Tryon Elementary School in honor of retired Principal Walker Williams.
Rotary President Gorden Threlfall said the club felt honored to be able to thank Williams for his commitment to the students of Tryon.
“It isn’t often we have someone here with us that has made as many contributions over as many years as we have here today in Mr. Williams,” Threlfall said.
The Rotary Club of Tryon presented the check, which will be put solely toward stocking the shelves of TES’ library. Williams, who led TES for a total of 20 years as principal, said there was no greater way to expand a child’s capability for learning.
“Ever since I stepped foot in a classroom they preached to me about individualization, and the best way to individualize education is to put a book in the hand of a child,” Williams said. “You all have just put a book in the hands of many children.”
Librarian Kathy Wheaton said the donation would make a tremendous impact on the TES library collection.
“It is a wonderful gift,” Wheaton said. “He [Williams] was a huge advocate of science and so we are going to make a special collection, housed separately in Mr. Williams’ honor, that focuses strictly on the sciences.”
Wheaton said the collection is planned to include science materials for all grade levels – kindergartners to fifth graders. She said putting a focus on this particular subject matter would be a tremendous boost for the TES library, as science books tend to be more expensive than your average library book. She said it is unlikely any one book would cost less than $25.
In attendance in Mr. Williams’ honor were four TES students. Second grader Geanine Jackson, third grader Ian Anderson, fourth grader Jacob Grigg and fifth grader Izzy Jackson all had the opportunity to “play hookie” from school to eat lunch with Rotary members and take part in honoring their longtime principal.
Williams retired in June 2011 after 45 years in education.
During his time as principal, TES was named a School of Excellence every year beginning in 1999. He also established after-school programs and college trips for fifth-graders, to name a few of his accomplishments.

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