2017-03-25 / The Bullhorn

First teacher hired at RCS set to retire in July

By Delaney Sullivan
RCS Bullhorn Editor

It’s a headline no one at Roxboro Community School (RCS) ever thought they would read, but it’s true. Wanda Ball, high school English teacher, is retiring after over 35 years of teaching – 11 of which were spent at RCS.

Ball’s first teaching experience was an open classroom concept. Having no walls allowed her to observe other teaching styles and got her accustomed to people constantly walking by her classroom.

“It was shocking when I moved into a classroom with four wall around me. I missed having supportive colleagues surrounding me,” Ball said.

Ball has taught in nine schools in four different states. She said that, in all the environments she has taught in, there have been some positive and notso positive features, but teaching in many different places has made her a stronger educator.

“I often think how unfortunate it can be when other teachers have no other environment with which to compare what is happening in their current teaching situation,” said Ball.

Before moving to North Carolina, Ball had been teaching for five years and throughout her career, she has taught grades five through 12.

When Ball’s husband’s job transferred him to Duke University, she started working at Person High School as an interim teacher, then worked at an elementary school in Orange County before returning to Person County to work at Southern Middle School. Later, she moved to Person High.

When RCS opened in 2006, Ball was the first teacher the school hired.

Sam Kennington, founding principal of RCS, had only good things to say about the first teacher he hired.

“The thing about Wanda Ball is that she gave RCS instant credibility,” said Kennington. “She was well known and well liked within the community and countless others recognized her as an outstanding person and teacher. Because of her willingness to take a chance at a new beginning, others followed her to RCS. If she was anything, she was amazing. Wanda Ball made RCS great,” Kennington concluded.

Ball said, “Teaching at RCS has been professionally enriching because I have been fortunate to have the rare opportunity to shape a school from the ground up to where we are now. The freedom I have had as an educator at RCS has enabled me to mentor kids in awesome ways, and my students’ success stories are evidence of my efforts to equip them to handle learning situations and life’s challenges.”

Ball says that she has no desire to change anything that has affected her teaching journey and that she has grown professionally while being given unique opportunities.

As for why she chose to retire now, Ball said that no time would have been perfect. She explained that she knew whenever she chose to retire, she would disappoint a student or a parent. Her philosophy always has been, and always will be, she said, “Once you are my student, you always will be.”

She added, “In college, one of my teachers reminded us that teaching was a calling rather than a vocation.” Ball continued, “Certainly, that has been true for me. My daily prayer all these years has been to make a young person’s life better today. I firmly believe that my fervent prayer has been repeatedly heard and answered.”

Ball concluded, “Since I began teaching at age 22, I have been surrounded by amazing teens. Now, I must learn to have a life without these wonderful beings. Our society will be stronger if every adult takes a moment to converse with a teenager, listens intently, and gives him or her a hug. Teens are good people in my life and I’ll miss being around them.”

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