Jerry Efurd is retiring as the principal of Greenwood High School at the end of the month. He is one of the last teachers left from my high school days at GHS. Mr. Efurd taught my GCE class. GCE stands for General Cooperative Education, of course. I had to locate my old Trapper Keeper to figure that acronym out. What a vague name for a class. The class should have been called, “You’re not doing great in school, perhaps you should get a job”.

When I heard that I could take a class that would allow me to leave school in the middle of the day I was very excited and signed up immediately.

I do not remember anything from the class, except for blood drives. We did a lot of blood drives. I did however get something out of the class and that was the mentorship of Mr. Efurd. Up to that point I had never had a great male role model in my life and I did not understand basic things about getting and keeping jobs.

I remember Mr. Efurd pulling me aside and telling me that I had to stop changing jobs constantly, that it doesn’t look good and that I should give a notice before I quit.

Unless someone is there to tell you things like that how do you know? My step dad was too busy hunting and chain smoking to get involved in my life and so I would go to work somewhere, decide that it was the worst thing I had ever experienced and quit on my first day.

After GCE I did my best to stay with an employer for longer spans of time, sometimes even up to a year, and then give notice before moving on.

“If you are on time, you are late. Always be 10-15 minutes early”. This was another word of wisdom from Mr. Efurd and something that I do my best to live by to this day. Of course once I got married this tendency led to a lot of fights. After 19 years of marriage my philosophy now is “Be early when I am going by myself, otherwise get there when you can happily and safely.”

Mr. Efurd also said, “Don’t be afraid to work for free for a while,”. That bit of advice has gotten me a few jobs including with the Greenwood Democrat… twice. I offered my services as a photographer to the newspaper when I was a senior in high school and was given a paying job shooting sports. And then In 2005 I once again offered to shoot sports for free when the Editor, Martha Cole, quit. I took her job and the rest is history.

So thank you Mr. Efurd for sharing the wisdom you have learned. Your voice still echoes in my mind from time to time. Your impact on the generations of kids that you have come in contact with is greater than you know. Enjoy your retirement sir.