HOPE – Friends, family, former colleagues and Hope Bobcat fans welcomed the induction of the 2021 Class of the Hope Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame in ceremonies and a public reception here Sept. 17.
Five former educators who all began as classroom teachers were honored during a “come and go” reception at Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas-Hope campus and were formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at Hammons Stadium prior to the Hope-Prescott football game.
Harrel Dickerson, the late Melba Hall, Mary R. Moses, Margaret Moss and Johnny Turner were recognized with the honor.
Hope Board of Education President Linda Haynes called the gathering at Hempstead Hall a tribute to educational excellence in the Hope Public Schools that spans generations.
“Many of you have memories of teachers who influenced your life,” Haynes said.
HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley addressed the respect of friends and family who traveled to Hope to participate in and witness the ceremonies.
“It feels like community and family,” Dr. Crossley said. “You, the honorees, represent the best of who we are as educators.”
Dickerson expressed his gratitude for the recognition by reflecting upon his career opportunities, noting how he began as a classroom teacher and retired as assistant superintendent of the district.
“I’m truly grateful,” he said.
Hall’s son, Mark Hall of Bearden, said his mother, longtime girls’ high school basketball coach Melba Hall, “would have loved seeing this because Hope and Hope High School meant so much to her.”
Suella Tye, herself a retired HPS teacher, represented Moses by thanking former colleagues for the honor; while, Moss, now a member of the HPS Board of Education, reflected upon the administrators she knew in her career as librarian at Clinton Primary School and Yerger Middle School.
“I learned so much from principals like Larry Muldrew,” Moss said.
Turner, whose tenure of 38 years was the longest among the honorees, expounded upon the educational value of coaching.
“We are educators first, but we are educators,” Turner said. “People talk about coaches like it isn’t the same thing; but we teach young men and women to build strong character and moral principles. And, we worked at it, days, nights and weekends.”
Formal induction ceremonies on the 50-yard line at Hammons Stadium marked the recognition of the five educators, including:
HARREL DICKERSON – Mr. Dickerson is a former longtime facilities and maintenance director for the Hope Public Schools who retired in 1995 after 29 years that began in the classroom at Hope High School in 1966. A graduate of Prescott High School in 1959, Dickerson earned a BSE in Social Studies from Henderson State University in 1964 and received his MSE from HSU in 1970. He completed Principal Certification at the University of Arkansas in 1974 and his School Administration Certification at UA in 1978. He taught 10th grade World History and 12th grade Western Civilization at Hope High School for six years before becoming Yerger Junior High School Principal from 1972-1974. Dickerson served as HHS Assistant Principal from 1974-1976 before becoming HHS Principal from 1976-1981. Thereafter, Dickerson became Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Transportation until his retirement in 1995, during which he oversaw new facilities construction, a duty he continued on a part-time basis for another eight years.
MELBA HALL – The late Melba Hall was a legend as the Hope High School girls’ basketball coach. Hall graduated from HHS in 1962, where she played Ladycat basketball and went on to play for Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, where she graduated with a BSE in 1966. She received her MSE from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and taught and coached in the Chidester, Prescott and Hope schools for 34 years. Hall took the Prescott girls’ basketball program to a state championship in 1971. She spent the majority of her career from 1975-2001 in Hope, where she took the HHS Ladycats from three-on-three play to the full court game. She coached the Ladycats to numerous conference titles and state playoff appearances. Hall coached girls’ track, volleyball and tennis while at HHS, winning a state doubles tennis title in 1992. She sponsored the HHS Fellowship of Christian Athletes, organized Cats Camp summer youth basketball and was a member of the Arkansas Coaches Hall of Fame. She passed away in November, 2016.
MARY R. MOSES – Miss Moses was born Jan. 15, 1927, and is a Hope High School graduate of the Class of 1945. She holds at BSE degree from the University of Arlkansas, conferred in 1949, and she was awarded an MSE degree from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia in 1962. Moses began her teaching career in Marianna, Ar., from 1949-1950 and she taught in the Natchez, Miss., public schools for two years prior to returning to Hope to teach 11th grade English at HHS from 1961-1990. Moses was also the longtime sponsor of the HHS chapter National Honor Society.
MARGARET MOSS – Mrs. Moss brought her love of reading and literature to Yerger Middle School as its librarian for 19 years prior to her retirement after 37 years in the Hope Public Schools in June, 2016. Her book fairs at YMS were memorable. She began her career in public education as a fourth-grade teacher at Beryl Henry Elementary School for 16 years prior to becoming librarian at Clinton Primary School and YMS. Moss also taught Adult Basic Education at Garland Learning Center. She served students as a cheer coach and student council advisor while at Yerger. Moss is a Hope High School graduate, and holds a BSE in Elementary Education with Certification in Library Science from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia as well as an MSE in Education from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. She has continued post-graduate studies at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and SAU.
JOHNNY TURNER – Coach Turner worked in almost every aspect of coaching during his 38 years as an educator and coach in the Hope Public Schools. He began as a classroom teacher at Garland Elementary School, later taught career orientation, social studies and physical education at Yerger Middle School and began coaching in 1980. During his coaching tenure, he served as 7-8th grades basketball coach, assistant varsity football coach, 8th grade track coach, assistant varsity basketball coach, 9th grade football coach, varsity secondary/offensive backs coach, offensive coordinator, interim head Bobcat football coach and Bobcat head football coach. A transitionary alumnus of Yerger High School, Turner graduated with the Class of 1971 at Hope High School. He holds a BSE in secondary physical education from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, where he was active in Omega Psi Phi in community service. He is also a lifetime member of the Arkansas Coaches Association.
Nominations were solicited from the community, from professional education organizations and from education-related organizations of former HPSD educators with 10 years or more of active service as an HPSD educator, administrator or support professional, inclusive of posthumous nominations.
The honorees will comprise the fourth class of the HPSD Educator Hall of Fame since the inaugural class was selected during the Hempstead County Bicentennial year in 2018.