Terrell Proud are the teachers, who like Cynthia Candler, Mike Melugin, Lela Hogan, and many more, have worked as educators for so many years that now their own students are educators in our schools. One former student commented on Facebook saying, "Ms. Candler changed my life. I wouldn't be the success I am without her in my life. I love that she invests in individuals and their true identity not just a classroom. She is such an important person in this world!” It’s teachers, like her, who touch the lives of our students every single day.
Tiger Strong are the fans who show up every Friday night at Memorial Stadium to cheer on our football team, our band, our Tigerettes, and all the other students who work tirelessly to prepare for football season. The fans like Mr. Neroes, who for years has stood on the sideline with a smile across his face, cheering on the Tigers through wins and losses. It’s the young fans who line the rails at Memorial Stadium with pom-poms and tiny megaphones in hand, or stand on the bleachers to see over the people in front of them. And who sometimes, by the fourth quarter, are so worn out they rest their heads in the lap of their mom or dad because it's after their bedtime, and they have cheered so hard.
Terrell Proud are the alumni whose Tiger Spirit is evident the moment you walk into their office or business. Places, like so many I've seen, where Tiger memorabilia lines the shelves and old annuals are on display. Alumni who can tell you stories about the days when they played football, cheered for the Tigers, performed in the band, and walked the halls of Terrell High School. Stories told as if it were yesterday by those alumni who are truly proud to be Terrell Tigers.
Tiger Strong is the booster club and parent support groups that haul band instruments, agricultural equipment, Tigerette props, and much more all across this county and state. It’s the parents who cheer on our volleyball teams and cross country runners at competitions both home and away. It’s those same parents who fund-raise tirelessly for our children without asking for anything in return. My hat goes off to anyone who spends hours in a concession stand in the August heat.
Terrell Proud are our local businesses that have donated time, resources, and substantial money to our Career and Tech programs. It’s also the Excellence Foundation and Economic Development Corporation that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve children's lives. It’s also the proud citizens of this community who continue to back the school district both financially and with words of support and encouragement.
Tiger Strong are the parents, grandparents, and guardians who support the efforts of our teachers and administrators by holding our students to a standard of excellence. Parents who spend time carrying their children to practices, reading with them at night, attending meetings at their child’s school, and helping their kid with homework night after night. It’s those community members and parents who seek the positive, and believe ALL kids deserve a world-class education - those who use their voice as an instrument of good.
Tiger Strong are the custodians and maintenance staff who finished four months worth of work in two months this summer to get our schools ready for the start of a new year. The men and women who transformed J. F. Kennedy Elementary School into a building that students can be excited to enter every single day. It's the educators and administrators who spent hours this summer planning curriculum, attending trainings, and preparing for our students to have an even more successful year than the last. It’s the nurses and auxiliary staff who care for our students as if they were their own children greeting them with smiles day in and day out.
Terrell Proud are the people, like Mike Elswick, who have done everything they can to support this community and our schools. The non-Terrell natives, who like me, feel more at home in this community than anywhere else. His pride is evident in the hours he and his wife Stephanie spent serving in this community since the day they moved to Terrell. He is a friend to all, and while he will most definitely be missed, he will always be a Tiger.
Transformation is underway. I see it in our hallways and classrooms; I see it in the faces of our fans every Friday night; and I see it in our teachers and staff who are giving more of themselves than ever before to ensure the best for our students. I encourage you to wear the red and white with your head held high. I encourage you to support our great community and schools. I encourage you to tell your story. We are Terrell Proud and Tiger Strong.