Sunday, June 8, 2014

Because of You, Henry Adair

In what situation would you expect to hear, "I'd rather be right here with you than anywhere else?" Somewhere fun? With close friends or family? How about a high school? Who would speak those words at a high school? Students speaking to each other, maybe?  Certainly not a principal.  Unless it's Mr. Henry Adair addressing students, alumni, and parents at Senior Award's Night at Westside High School where he retired as principal after 31 years. Actually, it was after the awards and after his surprise.
He didn't except a flash mob singing his favorite song, What a Wonderful World. Westside alumni  who had waited, for a few minutes in the rain, in an abandoned parking lot on Hwy 28 by-pass across from Westside, surprised their favorite principal, affectionately called "Daddy Adair."  He was touched and said, "I'm honored.  I don't deserve it, but I'm honored, and there's nowhere else I'd rather by than with you." Anyone who knows Henry Adair, knows he most certainly deserved this honor.

He wasn't an ordinary principal. It wasn't simply a job. Westside is family to him.  Yes, he has a family and shows them incredible love, support, and respect.  But he treated parents, students, staff, and anyone else with that same love, support, and respect; in fact, he said, "There may have been times I didn't like you, but I always loved you."

His children told me his favorite bible passage was Psalm 23.  I didn't expect that, but it's appropriate for Henry Adair.  He has been through the valley of the shadow of death, but it doesn't take long to realize he spends time with God giving evidence to a restored soul, renewed strength, and a life guided along right paths bringing honor to His name. 

Parents saw this; in fact, we have his cell number and called him when we needed him.  He met with us and was genuinely concerned about the welfare of our children.  Always sharing a positive attitude, he dealt fairly with staff, students, and parents.  

Students saw this and knew he cared about them. He stood on the sidelines and watched their games, weekend football and weekday volleyball, basketball, softball, and on and on. He attended concerts, awards ceremonies, and meetings.  If they were ill, he knew about it and expressed concern.  He saw them at Waffle House after the prom, took a selfie, and paid for their meal.

May 24, 2014 was Mr. Adair's last graduation as principal of Westside High School.  Luckily, my daughter was one of his graduates.  The valedictorian, Joshua Wright, reminded us of the tremendous influence he has on our community, "We could be so lucky to make the impact Mr. Adair has made."  

A few of Mr. Adair's final words from graduation prove that he's a man of God whose cup overflows with blessings, and in turns blesses those around him.

Make the rest of your life a great adventure.  Use your education and do your part to make the world a better place.  Set your goals high.  Don't be afraid to try new things.  It's ok to fail.  I dare you to be a good person. Be kind, courteous,  slow to condemn and quick to stand up for what is right. I hope Westside has made you different. I hope you're a better person. I hope you can see it's a wonderful world because of you. You have been my passion, my life.  You're the reason I get up.  I'm a better person for knowing you.  Do not trade evil for evil, only good for good. You'll always have a home at Westside.  It's been my honor and pleasure.  You've helped me more than I've helped you. You loved and supported me through Jane's (his late wife) illness and death. You'll live on in my heart.  No matter where you go. We'll always be there for you.

The Lord is my shepherd.  I have all that I need.  Psalm 23:1
Surely goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23:6   NLT

The Shepherd guides Henry Adair's life along right paths, so we're the ones better for knowing him and have the privilege and honor to share his world. Students, staff, and parents experienced God's unfailing love and goodness by knowing him.  


We think to ourselves, it's because of you, Henry Adair, that it's a wonderful world.  





  1. Well said. I can't believe Hope graduated! Wow, how time flies.

    1. Thanks Rachael. Yes, Hope is leaving High School and James is entering Westside. Time certainly does fly.