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Opinion: Remembering how much Wayne Colston cared
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Mount Vernon Elementary Principal Wayne Colston watches as students file out to buses at the end of the school day. - photo by Tom Reed

Upon learning of Mount Vernon elementary’s longtime principal, Wayne Colston, passing away, I reflected on a time when he helped my then-second grade son through a difficult transition. Early in the school year, my second grader developed an aversion to school, nearly refusing to get ready to go. His teacher also told me he did not seem happy, despite her efforts to welcome him to class.

My two kids and I were still fairly new to the community, having moved from another county the year before. I chose a home in the much acclaimed “Mount Vernon school district” after visiting the school, meeting teachers and studying standardized test results. I ascertained the school had high expectations of students and staff, plus a caring administration, all curated under Mr. Colston’s direction. 

My kids’ initial year had gone smoothly, but suddenly something seemed wrong for my son and he no longer wanted to go to school.

Not knowing what to do about his difficulty adjusting to second grade, I thought about Mr. Colston, whom I had seen greeting students daily as they left their parents’ cars to head into the school. I called him and explained the situation. He said he’d talk to Bert. That afternoon, my son told me the principal sat down and had lunch with him. From there on out, we did not have another tough school morning at our house. 

I still don’t know exactly what Mr. Colston said or how he eased my child’s anxieties about second grade, but I will be forever grateful to the caring principal who took the time to have lunch with my kid and give him personal attention to get through that phase.

I’m sure there are many stories from parents and children who benefitted from Mr. Colston’s care and conscientiousness. I’m thankful to have had him as my children’s principal. 

What a wonderful asset he was for the North Hall community and Hall County Schools. 

Jane Harrison

Gainesville

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