Keith High principal retires after 40 years

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

ORRVILLE &8212; He came to Keith High School in 1968 as the band director and never left.

It has been 40 years, and principal Grady Broadnax said he knows it&8217;s time to retire.

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On Friday, the last day of school, Broadnax was cheerful about graduation, but was also on task making sure students were getting to their destinations as they walked through the halls.

As one student was headed to the cafeteria, he glanced over to see the principal and immediately tucked in his shirt.

Broadnax served as band director for 28 years before he became principal.

Rackley said he doesn&8217;t think he&8217;ll ever fill Broadnax&8217;s shoes as band director, but hopes he will be able to teach his students something that will make a difference in their lives.

As he visited the band room, Broadnax looked at a photo on the wall of the last band class he taught. He smiled and got nostalgic.

Back pains sent Broadnax to a Dr. Walid Freij&8217;s neurologist office above Swift Drug Co. earlier in the week where he was met by three special people &8212; Sonya Pettway, Vivian Williams and Lashanda Black.

All three work in the doctor&8217;s office and were former band students of Broadnax&8217;s.

Black, class of 1997, said Broadnax gave attention to of all of the students and pushed them to do well in band and their other classes.

Pettway, who was Williams&8217; classmate, is part of the PTO at Keith. Pettway said Broadnax was not only a good band director, he was like a father figure.

During his retirement, Broadnax said he plans to travel with his wife, Margaret, and work in a garden that has suffered some neglect.

The couple also plans to spend time visiting their three children, Camille, Grady Jr. and Talonda, and seven grandchildren.