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Scotty Henry

Not Everything Needs to Make the News

By Raphael Maurice

“We just keep doing what we’re doing in Meridian and say, let our work speak for us.”

Scotty Henry is the beloved President of the School Board at Meridian. He is the embodiment of humility, a soft-spoken soul who is beyond kind and is always there for his school, the kids, and the community. He’s been in his role for eight years, but time of service aside, to hear him talk is to listen to goodness, thoughtfulness, and to be in the presence of a gifted listener, too. And Mr. Henry’s ties to Meridian are deep. He was born and raised here and had ten siblings who graduated, like him, from Meridian. Some of his own kids went here as well. This place is his home, and he’s seeing to it that the school gets even better, the community stronger. But you wouldn’t exactly get that from him. One of the things about Mr. Henry is his complete absence of egotism. It’s astonishing. As to how he came to become President of the School Board, Scotty notes, “They needed some younger people on the board, you know? To give them a little more insight and more vision. So the old ways, the old complacent ways needed some changing, because times are changing and people change.” Again, he says this without ever pushing himself or his own role forward. Every word is calmly spoken, humbly uttered in a deeper baritone that warms the heart.

As to how Mr. Henry sees the kids in the school and community, he’s straightforward about his mission. And he knows he’s got a team behind him that are helping usher in a new time for each child in Meridian: “We want to give them every opportunity out there that is available for them. And we didn’t want to underestimate any child’s ability.” In turn, no one underestimates Scotty Henry’s ability to make this mission a reality. He works with administrators, principals, and other folks to help get things done: “We’re always sharing ideas, and you know, we were so good about it. We streamline ideas on how to make each other better. It ain’t about us, you know, it’s about the kids at the end of the day.” That it-ain’t-aboutus attitude is beyond refreshing. And the kids here are benefiting from it.

For instance, there’s talk of a Technical School starting up at Meridian. Scotty Henry wants it to happen, and he’d be more than happy to offer co-educational sharing with other schools. Why a Tech School? Mr. Henry explains, “Not every child wants to go to college. We’d like a tech school. Plumbing, welding – you don’t have to go to college to have a good job.” There’s something infectious about his use of the word “child,” something sacred, as if each and every student around him represented a contract, an opportunity, a covenant. He loves these kids.

No one can do this like Mr. Henry, but to have him tell it, that’s not quite true. Again, his humility and uncanny sense of care for others underlies everything he says: “If something happened to me today, I’d be more than confident that the other six in that school room will do a better, a greater job.” While many would differ, Mr. Henry isn’t afraid to let other folks shine. He’s a light himself, and he leaves light wherever he goes, whenever he speaks. As to how he feels about his own work and the work of the school, as always, Scotty Henry has good words for us to end on: “Not everybody needs to know what we’re doing. We just keep doing what we’re doing in Meridian and say, let our work speak for us.” “By your fruits shall you be judged, not your disclaimers,” goes the saying. Scotty Henry is a man of both good words and deeds, and he’s more than helping Meridian, and after eight years in his role, each “child” is more than benefiting as well. They’re seen and heard and loved. Whether or not people know him or his work is of little to no importance to this wonderful community leader: “Not everybody needs to know what we’re doing. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing in Meridian and let our work speak for us.”

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