NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - One former Nacogdoches educator just can't get away from a school filled with personal memories.
G.W. Neal celebrated another "first day of school" even though he didn't plan it that way. Early in his long career, Neal walked the hallways of Raguet Elementary for ten years as a principal.
After 41 years with the district and only one year of retirement, Neal is back.
"Raguet Elementary is a special place for me," Neal said. "When the superintendent calls and says, 'Will you consider coming back and helping us out and getting started? Our principal has accepted another position,' it was not a tough decision."
Neal says returning to the school is sort of like riding a bike. There are a few bumps in the road.
When he ran across a crying child, Neal said, "Yeah, it's going to be okay."
Eventually, the day got lined out. Students learned to stand in line, and everything fell into place.
"Good job pre-K. Just great job," a teacher said. "Hold onto the rope."
"What do you think about today?" Neal asked one of his teachers. "Another good day for us?"
"Yes, sir. I think it went great," the teacher said.
Neal is pleased with the goals educators are setting for the students.
"I'm just pleased to see the effort here at Raguet what they've done to encourage kids that after high school comes college," Neal said.
Neal also said he realizes kids need to live in the moment and do all they can having fun learning.
"You got to understand fifth graders," Neal said. "They're just hams."
For Neal, returning to Raguet meant parking the John Deere tractor he uses on his farm and pulling out the suit and tie. He's not complaining.
"Y'all are doing such a good job coming in," Neal said. "I'm so proud of you all."
When Neal first served as principal at Raguet Elementary he met a teacher. Four months later, they were married. Neal said he cherishes the old memories but is now looking forward to making new ones.