There have been many memorable occasions in my sixty years of gymnastics, but the celebration of my ninetieth birthday left me speechless and overwhelmed. It has been hard for me to grasp the number of people who came to say "Happy Birthday".
In the beginning, my quest was to learn something about the sport of gymnastics. While a student at the University of Alabama, I saw a demonstration by the Swedish gymnastics team. My major was Physical Education. As I watched the performance, I thought this would be a great unit to include in my curriculum when I became a teacher.
So, the journey started in 1956, when I was hired as the Physical Education teacher at Sylacauga High School.
I will be eternally grateful to the Sylacauga School System, Avondale Mills, parents and citizens in Sylacauga who aided my pursuit in developing a gymnastics program. The program that was developed became the cornerstone for gymnastics in the state, and the southeastern region. This group of gymnasts won the first national gymnastics championship in the state and the southeastern region. This group of gymnasts won the first national gymnastic championship held in America by the USGF in 1965.
On Saturday, August 11, I was given the opportunity to introduce several of the first Sylacauga gymnasts in attendance to the gymnasts from Decatur. Without the Sylacauga program, there would not have been the program in Decatur.
To the organizers, coaches, family, gymnasts, judges, parents, friends and citizens who made an occasion I will never forget, I extend my love, gratitude, and appreciation for the remembrance of me with your presence, cards, gift cards, and phone calls. Thank you for remembering me in such a special way.
I was the seed planter, others watered, and others received the harvest. We were all in the development of the sport together, always striving to make all programs better.
There will always be gymnastics as long as there are children.
With Love and Respect,