Sunday, September 7, 2008

Teaching at Harding High School - Part One

While working at Doug's barber Shop I met Albert and Allen Nance that were building houses on Pawnee Dr. in Watauga Village, a new subdivision off Little Rock Road in Charlotte, NC. This development was near three schools that Pam, Glenn, and Michael would attend. Houses were not selling as fast as they were building them so one day Albert Nance said that they would let me have a house at their cost and would take my house on Barringer Drive as the down payment; this another way that God provided for us. On one Saturday in April, 1968, I went to work at the barber shop. Hazel called me and said that John Rogers, Tom Worthy and several other men were at our house and moving us to our new home and that I should come home to it that evening and I did. The next Sunday we moved our church membership to Mulberry Baptist Church, we remained members there until we moved to North Myrtle Beach, SC. April 1 1985.

Steve Wallens, a friend who worked with the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System in their Math and Science Department, let me know that a brick mason instructor was needed at Harding High School and encouraged me to apply for the position. I completed an application and was interviewed and hired the next day. With one week of training with the instructor that was leaving I had a job of training a bunch of wild kids how to lay bricks and be carpenters. It only took me a few days to learn that these boys needed more than just learning the skills. I got them all in a bunch in the corner of the shop and told them that I was there to help them and if they wanted to learn I would help them but if they decided not to learn, it was their choice and they would have to live with the consequences. This seemed to get their attention and they started to listen to what I had to say. My largest class was the first two periods in the morning and met in the same shop as the industrial arts class. I quickly could tell that the sharing of space was not going to work. I received permission to take the class out on a field trip in my van. I had a friend, Dick Bowers, that was manager of the Hardees on Wilkinson Boulevard that allowed us to meet there. At that time Hardees opened at 11:00 a.m. which was the time the class was over. He let me bring my class over to Hardees every day until it got warm enough for us to work outside.

I ordered 10 yards of sand and 3,000 brick and had them delivered to the school and let them be unloaded in the driveway to the auto shop. Gerald Harvey, the auto mechanics instructor, told me he thought it was not a good idea but I told him to watch and see. We had to move the sand and brick to the back of the school buildings and this took two weeks which kept the boys busy and I could get a little rest from the physical demands of teaching this course. I looked for actual jobs for the students to do as they learned to lay bricks. Marcus Hollbrook had a warehouse that needed a lot of windows bricked up and said that he would pay a good price for us to brick then up. This job kept us busy for quite a while. At first some of the boys did not want to work but when they saw that the workers were getting paid then all of them started working which made for a good class.  Listen to me tell this story.

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