Mr. Weems in the top left person. I am on the front row with polka dots.
I don’t think that I have ever known Mr. Weems’ first name. He and his wife lived just down the street from us and he was my principal at White Mountain Elementary School. He had charisma, although at the time I didn’t even know what that word meant. The teachers loved him as did the students and the community.
I am sure that Mr. Weems wouldn’t have ever locked us in an electrical closet, but I am also pretty sure that if he did, the parents would have been ok with it because he never did anything that wasn’t in our best interest.
I think I was in the 4th grade, when the renovations on White Mountain Intermediate started. Of course, this meant that the tree that was the center of our recess world, would have to be cut down. This tree was massively huge and had to be (in the timeline of an 8 year old) hundreds of years old. I believed this was wrong, so I started a petition, which was eventually signed by almost all of the 3rd and 4th graders. I, of course, took this straight to the top, skipping over the immediate authority figure of my 4th grade teacher.
I sought out Mr. Weems on the playground and took him aside, so that no one would be able to hear when he had to cave in and admit defeat. I decided I would let him announce my genius over the load speaker in his own time.
He listened and he looked over my petition with great thought. He then questioned me about my motives, why this would help the school, why it was so important to me. After listening to all of my points and the views of my fellow elementrians sent through me, he politely told me why leaving the tree was not an option. I didn’t take it lightly and I didn’t accept his answer. For the next week or two, I preceded to think of new reasons why the tree couldn’t be cut down and he listened.
Today, you can see the massive renovations and not even a trace of the big tree. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized how important those moments were to make my personality what it is. This brilliant man taught me how to think logically, follow through with my beliefs and even if you fail, keep working hard for what you believe in.