"Be a bus driver", "let your WINGS out"—we have lots of phrases we use to encourage our kids and staff to embody our social and emotional lessons on a daily basis, and Mr. Wright is doing it all.

Mr. Wright worked as a custodian at James Simons Elementary and Memminger Elementary (two of our WINGS schools) for more than a decade. Before the two schools ended up under the same temporary roof this year, as their downtown locations began renovations to make them hurricane safe, he would bike from one school to the next every day, putting in a 12 hour day at its shortest. But despite long and hard days, you would never meet Mr. Wright in the hall without earning one of his famous smiles and kind greetings. And if you were one of the hundreds of kids attending James Simons or Memminger Elementary, he probably even knew your name, grade, and possibly what you were writing your book report on that month.

When asked about the kids at James Simons and Memminger Elementary recently by a reporter at The Post & Courier, Mr. Wright said, "Those little ones are something else. I love them. That's our future."

Mr. Wright's position was eliminated last month due to state budget cuts, but not before each of the schools was able to give him a heart-felt send off. Kids at James Simons Elementary (most of whom are WINGS kids) made signs, wrote letters, and read words to Mr. Wright expressing how much he meant in their lives, and WINGSy phrases like "kind and caring" popped up in many.

He is the true embodiment of our WINGS Creed and our social and emotional lessons at work. Mr. Wright understands that, as our Creed says, "life is full of surprises" and if we control ourselves we'll indeed have much better days. He works hard, and he strives to connect with others in a meaningful way.

In his time at James Simons and Memminger Elementary schools, he served as a positive mentor and role model in our WINGS kids' lives, and we know that our programs at both schools would not be as successful as they are today without the help of Mr. Wright. Not only did he spend extra time off the clock helping our programs at each get settled before the school year began, but he would drop everything if any of our WINGSLeaders needed a helping hand during the program.

Thank you, Mr. Wright, for showing our kids how to soar! You'll always have a place in our flock.

"The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them."

- Ralph Nichols

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