Saturday, May 05, 2012
Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives." –Andy Rooney
My vote for the best 63 Highlander teacher is Billy West Sills. He was only 34 when he taught our senior classes and was a slight man who was always nicely dressed in a coat and tie. He exuded a quiet dignity and strength of character that enabled him to control his classrooms in a calm, competent manner. He was not a macho-type, but rather was a man who tended to command respect with a firmness that I don't recall as being threatening in any way. He had a thorough knowledge of his subjects which, as you might recall, were American History and Government.
I’m pretty sure I took every class Mr. Sills taught and I’m sure that my keen appreciation of history today traces directly back to his contributions to my education. I don’t have any specific anecdotal remembrances of Mr. Sills. My memory of him is more in the manner of a body of shared experience. After we graduated and went on, his career path took him to the ISD level as an administrator and later, I think, as the district historian. Just as Andy Rooney points out, Mr. Sills was very well regarded by a large population that he touched during his life. There are some FWISD facilities named after him. He died in 2002 at age 74. Men like Billy West Sills don’t come along very often and the world is a lesser place without him.
Mr. Sills walked with a very pronounced limp caused by polio. No matter though. About the only way that limp inhibited Mr. Sills was to prohibit him from being a competitive sprinter. He was first cabin in every respect. God bless you, Mr. Sills, and thank you for all the help.