50 Stories for 50 Years: Thankful Reflections

One of the recurring themes in stories that are submitted for “50 stories for 50 years” is a sense of thankfulness. Here are a few thankful reflections on the love and joy that teachers brought to school each day. Share your thoughts and memories using our online form.

Pam Laurens Blackburn ’86

Fifty years seems like such a long time, until you yourself are 50.  I had the pleasure of attending FPD my entire elementary, middle, and high school days.  In fact, my mother was my PreK teacher, my grandfather was involved in the opening of the school, and I was blessed to attend school with both of my siblings and meet my husband on that very campus.  One could say it certainly has had a lifelong impact on me.
As I sit to reflect on that impact, I am reminded of the impact the foundations and pure spirit of the place continues to have on me today. We moved away from Macon after college, and when searching for a school for our children to attend, my husband and I quickly determined we wanted somewhere “FPD-like,” an entity that would root everything in Jesus from academics to athletics to the arts. We did get close, but nothing is really the same!
Memories of pep rallies, Spirit Week, Bike-a-cade, the Mr. P helicopter incident, free time on the hill after lunch, overhead transparencies and chalk boards – the list could go on. I drove my daughter through the campus the other day when we were visiting Macon and everything has changed so much. What a pleasure to see God’s hand in its physical form.  Thank you to an establishment that touches so many lives, I am honored to have been just one of them.

Catherine Avery Dunlap ’84

FPD was always welcoming to me as I bounced back and forth during my high school years, ultimately staying put for half my Junior year and my entire Senior year.

I will never forget the light blue one piece gym suits that snapped in the front that we had to wear! To this day I can’t write ‘a lot’ without picturing my English teacher Mrs. (Sharon) Adams writing it on the board, putting the ‘a’ on one end of the board and walking all the way to the other end of the board and putting ‘lot’.

I am grateful for the Drama Club for helping me overcome my shyness and low self esteem. Having roles in Pygmalion with Susan Boone (Eliza Doolittle) and Brandon Smith (Prof. Higgins) and all the great cast of Harvey (Gerry Ford who kept me in stitches!) were instrumental in that. The culmination of all this was having my great-uncle Alvah H. Chapman serve as our Baccalaureate speaker. If ever a person exemplified a life lived devoted to the Lord and serving others, it was him. To this day I still think of the poem he read to us called “The Bridge Builder” by Will Allen Dromgoole, and I try to practice this in my daily life as a tribute to him and because it is the right thing to do.

 

Elizabeth “Liz” Strawn, back row third from right, on the 2006 Varsity Tennis Team

Liz Strawn Manning ’06

When I think back on my 13 years at FPD, I can’t help but feel thankful. Thankful for my parents, who did everything they could to send me to the most well-rounded, college-preparatory school in our city. Thankful for my coaches and leaders who instilled within me the values of hard work and perseverance, and especially thankful for my teachers. This fall, I will enter into my 7th year as an educator teaching 2nd grade in Nashville, Tennessee. I know I would not be in the profession that I am without the teachers in my life who cared for me, supported me, prayed for me, and encouraged me to reach my potential both inside and outside of the classroom.