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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Retiring principal recalls fond memories of Alton

Thursday, February 20, 2003

ALTON -- Saying he has seen a lot of changes at Alton School in the last 50 years, Alton Elementary Principal Keith Combs submitted his resignation to the Alton School Board Feb. 13.

In a written letter of resignation Combs began by saying he had been involved with the Alton School District since he started first grade in 1953. "All of my elementary years were in the old building, now slated for demolition. I well remember the hiss of steam in the radiators and the thud of steps on the wooden stairs. I rode the bus to Thomasville for junior high classes during consolidation. My first two years of high school I watched as the dozers leveled Radar Town for a new high school. I remember the pride I had in a new school, new gym and new chemistry lab. That new building is now 40 years old," Combs wrote to school board members.

The retiring principal continued: "But most of all I remember Chudomelka, Kirkham, Wooldridge and Tinsley and the excellence they expected. I remember Fred Alexander, a shop teacher with one arm. He taught me that people with a disability are not disabled. His wife taught me to actually like math. I remember Coach Hal Johnson. I caught his competitive spirit. I still do not like to be second," Combs said.

Combs told school board members the campus has changed in 50 years and the curriculum has changed many times. "What I learned in high school they now teach in elementary. What I learned in college, they now teach in high school. Knowledge has increased just as the good book said it would," Combs said.

Combs said one thing has remained constant during all those years. "When the school system has excellent teachers and staff, we have an excellent school. I encourage everyone involved to be his/her best. Remember the power of knowledge. I encourage the board and administration to cherish those excellent teachers we now employ. Sacrifice whatever it takes to hire and keep the best," the retiring principal said.

"It is with mixed emotions that I submit to you my resignation effective June 30. I can honestly say I will miss being at school; however, I do look forward to retirement. If I can be of service to the school in any way in the future you can find me in the woods or on the river, It's been fun! Thanks!," the retiring principal ended his letter to the school board.

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