FAIRMONT — When Sen. Michael Walters was stopped in the hall by his old English teacher, Lucille Ward asked him what brought him to Fairmont High School.
“You know, it’s hard to tell your English teacher a story,” Walters said of having to fib.
The truth is, he was there to surprise Ward, a teacher for 50 years, with a presentation of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian award, issued by Gov. Bev Perdue for a demonstrated record of service to the state.
Ward, who has taught home economics and English at Orrum High School, which is now Orrum Middle School, and Fairmont High School, said she’s retired four times, but keeps coming back.
This is Ward’s 47th year working for the county. She worked for three years in Sampson County as well.
“This lady has touched a lot of lives,” Walters said. “She’s still got that same personality, that same meek, mild demeanor that she had when she taught me in high school English.”
Of the faculty and staff attending the after-school surprise celebration, six people were taught by Ward.
“She’s been special to my family, and she’s been special to a lot of families,” Walters said.
Ward, who said she’s finally going to call it quits after this school year, provided a hint of her next plan.
“Adjusting,” Ward said, “and spending more time with my husband and family. We’d like to travel.”