By TRAVIS MORSE
CNHI News Service
MT. VERNON —
MT. VERNON — Cindy Baker traveled all the way from Indianapolis to attend Tuesday night's local ceremony honoring retired District 80 administrators.
Her father, Carl Baker, was principal at the former Lincoln School in Mt. Vernon. He is now one of 45 administrators immortalized in a special brick display outside the District 80 office on North Street.
More of Carl's relatives were also in attendance Tuesday, including his other daughter, Stephanie Rankin, and his grandchildren. Carl passed away in 1995.
“My dad would've wanted to be here, so therefore we've come to represent him,” Cindy Baker said, adding that her father was a dedicated principal. “He did a little bit of everything, back when the principal was a jack of all trades.”
Despite rainy weather, about 50 people attended Tuesday night's ceremony, where the new brick display was unveiled.
Several district officials spoke at the gathering. Also, still-living retired administrators were presented with special memorial bricks, which are miniature versions of the bricks in the display.
The Mt. Vernon City Schools Foundation sponsored the brick project as a way to acknowledge former administrators who helped make District 80 what it is today, said Superintendent Mike Green.
“It's really quite an honor here tonight to recognize all the administrators who gave so much of their life and career for the students of Mt. Vernon,” Green said. “It's a special group of people.”
The new permanent display, made up of engraved bricks, lines the entrance to the District 80 administrative office.
Each commemorative brick includes on its surface an administrator's name and title, the building they worked in, and the dates they served.
A total of 45 bricks were installed, including 15 that honor former administrators who are still living.
Eleven of those administrators attended Tuesday's ceremony, along with relatives of some of the deceased school leaders.
“I'm overwhelmed with the response of the people that are coming here this evening,” said Kevin Settle, president of the foundation and a retired District 80 administrator. “This is just magnificent.”
Retired administrator Janice Cherry said the brick display is an example of how “forward-thinking” the district is.
Hopefully, Cherry said, current District 80 teachers will see this display and be inspired to try their hand at an administrative position.
“I think that's a very positive (thing) and hopefully it'll be an enticement to other teachers that are in the district that think they might like to go into leadership,” Cherry said. “It's kind of a reminder to them.”
Funding for the bricks came from an anonymous local donor and District 80 paid for the foundation work. The total project cost was $2,700.