Com­mu­nity honors An­drews, ded­i­cates bench

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — More than 50 peo­ple gath­ered at the old Ken­nard High School, now the Ken­nard High School African-Amer­i­can Cul­tural Her­itage Cen­ter, to re­mem­ber the life of Queen Anne’s County ed­u­ca­tor John F. An­drews on Satur­day, Nov. 5.

“We have come to rec­og­nize, to re­mem­ber, to ap­pre­ci­ate and to cel­e­brate the life of John F. An­drews,” Max­ine West said dur­ing the cer­e­mony.

Friends, fam­ily and com­mu­nity mem­bers lis­tened to speak­ers share mem­o­ries they had of An­drews, who was struck by a ve­hi­cle run­ning a red light in 2007 in Centreville, as the Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion Inc. of­fi­cially memo­ri­al­ized a bench and plaque in his name out­side of the re­fur­bished high school.

An­drews was born in South Carolina, earned his bach­e­lor’s and mas­ter de­grees from AT&T State University in North Carolina and served in the Fourth Ar­mored Di­vi­sion of the United States Army.

An­drews was in­volved in com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties. He was a mem­ber of the MidShore Sym­phony So­ci­ety, chair­man of the Health Plan­ning Coun­cil, a scout­mas­ter and was in­stru­men­tal in es­tab­lish­ing the Cor­sica Hills Nurs­ing Home, said Janet Paul, as­sis­tant school su­per­in­ten­dent.

“We are so proud and so happy to have you here with us to­day, that you thought it not rob­bery to come out this morn­ing to honor a man that was so beloved by a com­mu­nity,” said Clay­ton Wash­ing­ton, pres­i­dent of the Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion, in open­ing the cer­e­mony.

Friends and fam­ily had the op­por­tu­nity through­out the hour-long cer­e­mony to share mem­o­ries they had of An­drews, who be­gan teach­ing in 1961 and later be­came vice prin­ci­pal at Queen Anne’s County High School, a po­si­tion he held un­til his death.

Deb­o­rah Lawrence, as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Queen Anne’s County High School and the mis­tress of cer­e­monies for the ded­i­ca­tion, asked the crowd to close their eyes and think of An­drews. She asked how many peo­ple could see “Brother John” singing with the choir after the New Life Com­mu­nity United Methodist Church Men’s Choir sang “Hush, Some­body’s Call­ing My Name.”

Fam­ily mem­bers of An­drews at­tended the ded­i­ca­tion and were given the op­por­tu­nity to speak about the com­mu­nity man. Steve Cir­cle, son-in-law to An­drews, spoke about how “Dad” was “very ac­cept­ing of me into his fam­ily, and I’m proud of that.”

Cir­cle re­called the South Carolina recipes An­drews would share with him and how Christ­mas was “some­thing spe­cial.”

“Com­mu­nity, re­li­gion and fam­ily are the things that were val­ued to John,” Cir­cle said.

Cir­cle was ac­com­pa­nied by his wife Wanda Cir­cle, daugh­ter of An­drews, and their daugh­ter Ash­ton Cir­cle. Wanda chose not to speak be­cause she’s “never ever been able to talk about my fa­ther with­out cry­ing, he was that spe­cial.”

An­drews’ daugh­ter-in-law Glo­ria An­drews said, “the one thing I can say for sure is Dad gave us a lot of en­cour­age­ment to be in­volved in our com­mu­nity, to be in­volved in as many things as we were.”

An­drews said the guid­ance she learned from him in thou­sands of con­ver­sa­tions in the kitchen helped her be­come a bet­ter per­son and a bet­ter em­ployee.

“I never met any­one who didn’t have great re­spect for him,” An­drews said. “And I mean that dearly. Great, great re­spect.”

Lawrence thanked the fam­ily for at­tend­ing the ded­i­ca­tion and said they were able to see why An­drews was so spe­cial, be­cause he started with his fam­ily and “ex­tended into the com­mu­nity” and into his re­li­gion.

An op­por­tu­nity was given for spec­ta­tors to come to the podium and share mem­o­ries of An­drews. Charles Emory, who sang with An­drews in the New Life Men’s Choir, said he re­mem­bered hav­ing An­drews as his Boy Scout leader. He said they would go to the gro­cery store and fill up An­drews’ white Mer­cury ham­burg­ers, snack­pack pud­dings, potato chips, chicken, “and ev­ery­thing you aint sup­posed to have when you’re camp­ing.”

Lawrence re­called a con­ver­sa­tion they had where An­drews asked her what she wanted to be and told her to get her­self to­gether so she could be a vice prin­ci­pal and sit in his same of­fice. An­drews told Lawrence his of­fice was cold, though, so if she had the op­por­tu­nity, “get the next of­fice,” she told the crowd.

“And I’ve been sit­ting over at that high school for about six years, and I’m still in that cold of­fice,” Lawrence said. “But you know why I’m okay? It was shared by a warm heart of Mr. An­drews, and as long as I sit at Queen Anne’s County High School, I’m go­ing to re­main in that of­fice.”

Wash­ing­ton said a gar­den will be planted in the spring be­side the bench.

The ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony was made pos­si­ble by the John An­drews Memorial Fund donors, the Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion Inc., Mur­doch Florist and vol­un­teers Larry Handy, She­lia Shorter, the Town of Centreville and the UME Queen Anne’s County Mas­ter Gar­den­ers.

The event com­mit­tee was made up of Emory, Pauls, Wash­ing­ton and John Wright.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

Fam­ily mem­bers of John F. An­drews stand by the newly ded­i­cated plaque and bench out­side of the Ken­nard High School African Amer­i­can Her­itage Cen­ter in Centreville on Satur­day, Nov. 5. From left: Katya An­drews, Wanda Cir­cle, Steve Cir­cle, Ash­ton Cir­cle and Max­ine West.

John Wright pulls the tarp from on top of the newly ded­i­cated John F. An­drews bench out­side of the Ken­nard High School African Amer­i­can Her­itage Cen­ter in Centreville on Satur­day, Nov. 5.

PHO­TOS BY MIKE DAVIS

More than 50 peo­pled gath­ered out­side of the old Ken­nard High School on Satur­day, Nov. 5, to honor the life of ed­u­ca­tor and com­mu­nity mem­ber John F. An­drews dur­ing a ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony in his name.

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