It's a time of celebration for former school superintendent Ed Grisham. Dr. Grisham took a trip last week with his wife, Linda, to northern Arizona in celebration of their 40th wedding anniversary. While the Grishams were on a five mile hike down into the Grand Canyon, the McDuffie County School Board was voting to name the physical education facility at Thomson High School after Dr. Grisham.
After the unanimous vote during the regular meeting, board members were too excited to keep the news to themselves.
Superintendent Mark Petersen attempted to call Dr. Grisham on speaker phone to share the news, but was unable to reach him.
"We were on a little anniversary trip and just having a ball," Dr. Grisham said. "I probably couldn't get the signal because I was down in the canyon. ... Of course I am very appreciative and humbled at this recognition. It's a great honor."
Dr. Petersen made the recommendation to the board, saying Dr. Grisham was the superintendent of McDuffie County Schools for 13 years before his own term.
"I think he had quite an impact on the school system," Dr. Petersen said.
As a former teacher and principal, Dr. Grisham said he tried to emphasize classroom needs during his tenure By renovating and adding classrooms.
"But we kept coming back to some severe needs in regards to physical education and athletics," he said. "So luckily, during those last two years we were able to tackle that need. I think it turned out to be just a marvelous facility. I'm just real proud of it."
The nearly 19,000-square-foot complex was opened on October 20, 2004, several months after Dr. Grisham's retirement. The new gym, not equipped with bleachers, is used for classes and practices and alleviates time constraints on schedules. Teams were formerly having to use elementary school gyms to get time on the court. Also, Assistant Principal Lynn Cato said two PE classes can now hold activities at the same time.
"I thought it was a tremendous idea to give Dr. Grisham the recognition he well deserves. He was instrumental in getting the building built during his tenure, and he stayed around to make sure that building was finished after he retired," said Paul Leroy, the school board member representing District 2. "That is great, and most fitting for a deserving person. I'm just really excited about it. ... He was a great educator and an even better person."
For Dr. Grisham, the good times keep getting better. He said his two granddaughters from Dallas are visiting with him this week in Thomson. And the entire family will be traveling to Savannah this coming weekend for his youngest daughter's graduation where she will receive her masters degree as a physician assistant.
"I'm very blessed," he said.
Dr. Petersen said a dedication ceremony will be held in a couple of months.