The Collier County School District is recognizing a milestone in the career of one of our outstanding principals. But to do that, and to frame the accomplishment, we need to travel back in time:
• The year was 1960 (the date, actually, August 22, 1960, — a long, long time ago).
• Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.
• “It’s Now or Never,” by Elvis, was the number one song on the radio, and “Gunsmoke” the top-rated show on TV.
• The cost of a gallon of regular gas was 25 cents. Average pay was about $300 per month, and rent about $100 per month.
• And, on August 22, 1960, a little more than 50 years ago, Dorcas Franklin (later to become Dorcas Howard) was hired by the Board of Public Instruction of Collier County as an elementary teacher at Bethune School in Immokalee. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Dorcas Howard, who was married to Huey Howard in 1963, is principal of Immokalee’s Village Oaks Elementary School, and has been since 1991. If you spend a day with Dorcas, you’ll easily see how much she loves her job and her students. She seems to know each of her 598 current students personally, and she has touched the lives of literally thousands of students over the course of her long and distinguished career.
Dorcas Howard provides us with a shining example of commitment, dedication and loyalty. She is passionate about public education — a grand lady, yet so unassuming! Dorcas Howard is someone we are privileged to know, someone we are fortunate to have on the school district team.
Mrs. Howard was recognized by the School Board during last Thursday’s board meeting in Immokalee. She exchanged hugs with Chief Instructional Officer Martha Hayes and the five School Board members, with husband Huey by her side. It was a total surprise for her.
Current and former teachers and staff from Village Oaks were there in force to support their beloved principal, many wearing school colors purple and white, and they presented her with a bouquet of 50 purple and white roses. Assistant Principal Lynda Walcott reports that Mrs. Howard is still smiling to this day, as is everyone who knows and loves her.