Longtime school employee honored with piece of history
Outside the Bryant School District maintenance and transportation building, several district employees, family members and Benton Mayor Tom Farmer (longtime Bryant Schools employee) gathered Monday to honor longtime Maintenance Director Bob Padgett for his contribution to the district.
As part of a surprise ceremony, a statue was revealed featuring a school bell and a plaque honoring Padgett.
The bell was once part of the former Collegeville School that was located off of Arkansas 5 and Hilldale Road. The school was used for educating students until the 1957-58 school year, Bryant Superintendent Dr. Karen Walters said during the presentation.
Shocked by the tribute, Padgett was emotional as he addressed the crowd.
“I can assure you that I know that the Lord has blessed me with a great deal of love for this school district. I can recall many mountain top experi
ences and I can recall those down in the valley, but the main thing I can recall more than anything is seeing this school district reaching out to every student,” Padgett said.
He commended everyone in attendance, as well as all of the patrons of the district.
“I’m just really grateful. Words are really beyond showing my love for what you’ve done and what you are doing. Thank you. Thank you very much,” he said.
This tribute has been in the works for about three years with the help of several people, according to James Kidd, who contributed.
The project was created because of an idea by the employees Padgett supervises. Walters commended employees with the maintenance and custodial departments, including Kidd and Pete Moix, as well as Robbie Collie and Terry Harper for their work to honor Padgett. The project was completed also with the help of generous donations from local businesses.
A plaque on the statue lists the positions Padgett has held. He was a member of the district’s first football team and graduated from Bryant High School in 1955. Working closely with former Superintendent Ed Love, Padgett served on the Bryant School Board for 15 years and he has worked for the district as maintenance director since 1988.
Walters said Padgett “has served as an integral part of building the Bryant School District.”
Along with listing Padgett’s roles in the district, the piece is etched with a quote from President Calvin Coolidge: “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
Kidd said he chose the quote because it represents Padgett well.
“I always felt like he is an outstanding man,” Kidd said.
Maintenance Director Bob Padgett, right, and Deputy Superintendent Todd Sellers share a hug after Padgett was recognized for his more than four decades of service to the Bryant School District.