By Hailey Massey | Assistant Editor |
This article was originally posted in the Big Stick print publication Dec. 19, 2018.
This week, Roosevelt High School bids farewell to Melvin Echard, who has been the school’s principal since 2012, completing his educational career with 24 years.
The farewell is a bittersweet one, but many are hopeful for the future that Echard wants to create through student participation, returning alumni and continuous support from the new principal, Bryan Norwood.
Echard’s retirement has given him a reminiscent yet excited outlook on the future, where he reflects back on the memories of his first years as principal while looking ahead.
“The first year where you have things like homecoming, graduation, the first football game: all of the firsts of the first year,” Echard said, “I think one of the things that I was most proud of is the amount of returning Roosevelt students that were able to come back as teachers and coaches. Looking at the amount of students impacted is the most cherished thing.”
Echard wants to see the majority of alumni he hired pursue further into their careers and become department heads and head coaches, much like he did throughout his early education at both Southwest Texas and Texas State University and in his military career, from which he retired after six years.
“I always challenge my staff and excelling students to simply go out and change the world; after saying that for about seven years, it puts me into a position to where I can’t fear the second half, and so I need to adopt the mindset that I don’t know what it will be but my goal is to go out and be a leader and try to impact the world,” Echard said.
The district held a retirement ceremony on Dec. 6 to honor Echard and other retiring principals and executives.
The support and dedication to the school that Echard has shown throughout his years as principal has touched the hearts of staff and faculty.
The faculty and district employees had a chance to formally say goodbye to Echard at a special retirement ceremony on Dec. 17. Superintendent Dr. Brian Gottardy spoke, along with Curriculum Assistant Principal Lori Murach and PTSA president Patty Garza.
“Mr. Echard has been our proudest supporter of our program [JROTC] and we would not be as successful as we are if we didn’t have his support,” Master Sergeant Marchantia Johnson said. “He’s gone to extreme lengths for us, been our mediator when we’ve needed to intervene, fought with the district for a third instructor, and he’s been the person who has been there for our students. Whenever we compete, he is there supporting us. I’ve never seen someone support our program the way he does. Mr. Echard carries that on in everything he does; we’re watching him in faculty meetings and other events, and he’s right here with us telling us that this is what we need to do and we need to go do it; but he’ll complete the mission with us.”