12/05/06 — Teacher’s legacy: Clifton Britton’s memory still inspires his students

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Teacher’s legacy: Clifton Britton’s memory still inspires his students

When the last time you spoke to most of your students was more than 50 years ago, you must have been doing something right if your words still have the same impact they had all those decades ago.

And that is just what Clifton Britton’s former students said this weekend when they came home to remember him and to enjoy the performance of his play, “The Shepherd’s Song.”

Their teacher was an inspiration who changed many of their lives forever, they said.

The weekend of fun that accompanied the renewed tradition of the holiday performance was full of reminiscing and memories about their time at Goldsboro High School. The alumni came from home and away — all with the purpose of honoring their teacher and remembering their days both on stage and off.

But in the end, they wanted those who weren’t lucky enough to know Clifton Britton that he was the kind of teacher who expected the best — and did everything he could to encourage his students to meet his expectations.

“Mr. B,” as he was called, was a clever man, with lots of talent in the arts, which he shared with his students — many of whom would not have considered trying to be part of the school’s performances without his encouragement.

In essence, his students said, he was exactly the kind of teacher a teacher should strive to be — and someone to whom his students could look for an example of the kind of person to be.

And there is no better compliment for a teacher than to have earned such accolades from his or her students.

It’s likely Clifton Britton would want you to know that he wasn’t all that special — that he was just a man doing the best he could to help his students create a future.

He would probably also remind you that there are hundreds more teachers just like him who have the same dedication and commitment he had.

To honor him best is to tell the stories of his classrooms and to remember the lessons he taught about honor, quality work and respect.

His students proved this weekend they learned their lessons well in their touching tribute to him.

Published in Editorials on December 5, 2006 1:25 PM