Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Death of Earl Pappy



I unlocked the door to the gym at West Village as four students from Hillside followed prepared to show their moves. Dremarcus “Little Dre” Rogers received a text message. “Dang man,” he whimpered in disbelief. “Mr. Pappy is dead.”

I didn’t want to believe the text message. I ran upstairs to my loft and began making calls to confirm the news. “Yeah man,” Delbert “DJ Kraze” Jarmon said. “He died of a heart attack this morning. Earl Pappy, the former Principal of Hillside High School, died on Sunday morning.

I soon discovered that his last days were engulfed in a tussle to find work after resigning his post at Hillside. He walked away after being pressured by members of the alumni association, some parents and folks like me to turn things around at the troubled school. People were tired of all the negatives that came with having a student enrolled at the Hillside. It was time to shift the cycle of dismay that made Hillside a laughingstock among North Carolina schools.

I’ll never forget my last encounter with Earl Pappy. It was during a meeting with the Site Based Management Team at Hillside. They were troubled after reading a blog I posted that called for a change in the culture at Hillside. Pappy was angry because the students were angry. I listened as other members of the committee shared their opinions about my blog. It wasn’t until Pappy spoke that I decided to write an apology to the students.

“I haven’t read what you wrote,” he said. “I don’t need to read it. My students are upset and that’s all I need to know about what you wrote.” It was the look on his face that got my attention. I could tell he cared about the students. He was right. They had heard enough bad news about their school.

“He was more like a friend than a Principal,” Cortland “Big Dre” Gallaway said. “He really cared about us.” Big Dre talked to me about how Pappy would listen to the students. In his mind that was a good thing. In the minds of some of the teachers it’s what made it difficult for him to succeed.

One teacher told me Pappy was a bad match for Hillside. The school, in that teacher’s opinion, needed a disciplinarian, someone who would tell the boys to pull up their pants. “He would have been great in a school like Hillside New Teach or in a setting where the emphasis was just on the academics. The problem I have is in how he was set up to fail.”

From all accounts Pappy had a hard time finding work after leaving Hillside. I’m told he spent his last days depressed due to the stress caused by having to deal with a career change. Is that what happens after we throw people among the wolves to be devoured while attempting to make a difference? After being forced to leave his job, the school system failed to find a place for Pappy to continue to use the gifts that landed him the job. What happened to all those accolades that had leaders of the system raving about how he would make a difference?

“He was easy to work with,” said Nakia Jones. Jones has served as a substitute teacher at Hillside since 1996. She has watched Principals come and go. “The one thing that set him apart from others was his support for the arts. He really believed in what we were doing and did all he could to support us.”

Pappy’s biggest critics acknowledge that he was a great person. “I can separate how I feel about a person from how I feel about them as a leader,” Jarmon said. “As much as I liked him as a person I did not think he was the right person for Hillside.”

It is hard to talk about a person after they die. During his life I believed Pappy was set up to fail. I wrote that the Alumni hindered his progress. I believed then, and still do, that it was a lack of support from the community that led to his end at Hillside. I believed then, and I still do, that our expectation for Pappy to save the ship from sinking void of help from those looking from the outside would set him up to fail-just like those who came before him at Hillside.

What troubles me most is what happened after he walked away. No one was there to offer him a job. No one cared enough to help Pappy stand with integrity after the pressure was too much for him to continue in his role at Hillside. It is disturbing to me that black men with insight take that risk everyday to make a difference. They throw themselves in the midst of the hardest battles only to be cast to the side after they are unable to make the expected change.

This man deserved the right to work with dignity. Why didn’t we support him after he walked away? Why couldn’t we find a way to utilize his enormous gift? Why do we give black men one chance to fail?

This was a great man who loved the students at Hillside. They cared for him for reasons some may never understand. He made a difference in their lives. Despite all of that he couldn’t get a job.

Help me understand why. It’s a shame. No, it’s a damn shame!

39 comments:

  1. I met Mr. Pappy when I brought actress Bern Nadette Stanis to visit the drama students there. He was a very nice man but that's as much as I really knew about him.

    By the time students get to high school,they should have it pretty much together. For you or anyone else to blame the Principal for the failings of its students is ludicrous. Try going back to grade school level--try going into some of the homes of these same parents who were doing all of the complaining. That's where you'll find many of the failures.

    Parents want to blame teachers for their childrens shortcoming. Yes, I definitely think teachers should be held accountable, however, it's also up to parents to stay on top of things to make sure their children are getting what they need. If you wait to high school, that's way too late. I'm just saying...

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  2. Thank you for your call to action. Earl Pappy's plight could have been the plight of any one of us. It is encumbent upon us to support one another when we know in our hearts the agenda is genuine. We celebrate the work of Martin Luther King who said that we are all inextricably linked. Now one of our links is gone. It is up to us to repair the damage.

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  3. So, you helped trash a man's career and now complain that no one would offer him a job?

    Each of us that criticizes another needs to both think before they speak and imagine the consequences of their criticism.

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  4. Wow! this was the same person who said it takes more than a tall brother in a nice suit

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  5. Well to the cowards who want to remain anonymous I say to you just because a man did not agree with Pappys approach Does not take away that a man has died a good man that did not have the support he needed to do his job. And he is right it does take more than a tall man in a suit. It takes a community to help this school develope and produce productive young people.

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  6. Eight years ago, I worked with Mr. Pappy at Boushall Middle School. He was a strict disciplinarian and earned the children's respect and admiration. When he brought Little Bow Wow to our school the children were ecstatic. He bent over backwards for those kids. Many of us were sorry to see him go to George Wythe HS. My heart goes out to his children and family.

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  7. Mr. Pappy was an awesome chief. His dedication and love for the students here at Hillside was beyond belief. The way he left our school was not only astounding but sudden. We were never given a clear answer of why he was taken from us, and that makes it worse for students who did not get to say there formal Goodbye. I fear for any person in leadership since now I know that being the “scapegoat” for something can cause such sickness. You all (to whom it may concern) complain so much about Hillside High School but say that the “community” needs to support…News Flash YOU ARE the community! We need you! And we want you to be apart of rebuilding and redefining HHS. That doesn’t include coming to football/ basketball games and watching our wonderful plays. That means volunteering, coming to our meetings, just showing your face through the halls. We invite you into our doors with open arms… our school is marvelous and has awesome students with various breathtaking talents. But because of what the media emphasizes on and what you all assume and believe you’ll never know. I am a proud firm advocate for my school and I thank Mr. Pappy and Mr. Lassiter for also being strong believers. We are a unit of over 1400 it’s going to take more than just the “defenders” to make our [home] become a flagship school, its going to take DPS, the community, our families, our alumni, and you! My heart gets heavy when I think of how my school once was (before my time) and what we are now. No matter how great we are doing something always brings us down. I’m sick of it and I know you all are too. (If you have time to whine about something, then you have time to change it. Anthony J. D'Angelo.)

    The legacy has not died. It’s time for you all to believe in us, Mr. Pappy did.

    Racquel Bethea
    Student Body President

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  8. I don't like this article. I feel like you belittled my school as well as a wonderful man. You are just like the other who don't pay attention to the wonderful things going on inside of my school. For example we just recently revived the news paper, we have a rigorous IB program & we are working toward a Haiti penny drive. That’s only three of the great things going on at Hillside right now. Instead of highlighting things like this you as well as others down play our school. Every school has its few knuckle heads but our school has various programs full of kids who are trying to do the right thing. This is one thing I loved about Mr. Pappy he listened and realized that although the media portrays our school negatively that he actually walked among kids with bright futures. Mr. Pappy always encouraged us to do the right thing. The relationship he built with the student body made us feel like someone actually cared about us and our school, being that so many down play us. Mr. Pappy will never be forgotten! As I think back on the time I spent with him I see the positives, not a job that he didn't fulfill. Mr. Pappy gave a lot of kids the hope they needed. If anyone failed at their job I feel it was the students who took him & his approach for granted.
    As I said before you should really think again before negatively talking about MY school. It's full of great students. Racquel Bethea is our student body president; she does so much for our school & to make the learning environment better for us. She spends long hours putting things together, so our student body could have more opportunities. She is well rounded and a go getter. Being able to work among her is a honor, she is definitely a rising leader but no one is interviewing her. I myself am News Paper Editor alongside Emily Chavez (our teacher) my class brought back the Hillside Chronicle. We put in a lot of work to do so but no one is writing an article about that either. Also as mentioned before we have the IB program full of kids willing to go above & beyond what is required to prepare their selves for college. Instead the media chooses to pull out the negatives about our school. Hillside High School is full of brilliant students with lots of potential & staff members who really care! My school has come a long way & if more people believed in us & discussed the positive we could go even further. I take pride in my school & am proud to say I am a student of Hillside High. No article or rumors about my school can change my mind about that.

    Naycia. T. Russell
    Hillside Chronicle News Paper Editor

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  9. Point to the readers of this blog. First, I never criticized Earl Pappy. In fact I defended him. What I stated in my blog was that it takes more than one person (in a nice suit) to alter a culture that has taken years to form. I came to his defense and challenged the larger community to examine their role in making Hillside a better school. In addition, it should be noted that much of what I wrote about in those blogs last year have been stated by Hillsides new principal in his weekly blog. As painful as it may be for people who read the bad related to a school, it's not the fault of the press when facts are reported. The reporting of those facts can serve a variety of purposes. One is to further ruin the reputation of a school. Another is to improve the school by bringing to the forefront the truth. The best way to end that cycle is to rewrite the script.

    My suggestion is that people read before they write. Assertions are being made about what was said that is grounded in false claims. Again, I didn't attack Earl Pappy-I defened him by placing the issues back in the hands of the community. I begged to give him time to work through those issues instead of replacing him with another person with a promise to fix the problems there.

    For those who defend the reputation of the school-I feel you. Hillside is a great school. I work with a number of students there. I do know what happens there because I am there. Don't make that assumption. Celebrate all that is good, but don't shy away from the challenge of making things better. Again, the best way to reverse the bad news is by making it good news. You can't hide the truth surrounding test scores. The woes of the school doesn't negate the good, but the good doesn't remove the need to make things better.

    My request is this. READ. If compelled to respond based on my past comments, or the comments of anyone else, do so with truth as your guide. Otherwise you leave those who read with a false impression related to what was said.

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  10. Sakeinah Perry, hhs seniorJanuary 21, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    I agree with the comments made by my fellow students. The students of Hillside have done great things in an effort to change the negative mindset of OUR school. Regardless of the great things Hillside students do, if the community never decides to capitalize on these things we can never even hope for change. Hillside will have a negative reputation for as long as people want it to. Only when people open their minds to the great potential OUR school has can we hope for a change. It’s sad but true.

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  11. This is crazy. I keep reading this over and over trying to see his point . This guy dnt knw whether he is for or against I see but i'm going to be BRIEF [ trying to avoid repitition so pardon me ] :

    - IN ALL HONESTY, MR.PAPPY WAS THE BEST TO HAPPEN TO OUR SCHOOL. UNTIL YOU WERE APART OF US, YOU'LL NEVER KNOW WHAT MR.PAPPY DID. AS I SEE IT, YOU ONLY SEEN HIM AS THE MEDIA SEEN HIM. HE MADE "HILLSIDE' WHAT IT IS TODAY, 3 YEARS AGO, HILLSIDE WAS NOT LIKE THIS. IT TOOK TIME FOR US TO GET WHERE WE ARE TODAY, OBVIOUSLY THOSE FACTS MATTERS NONE. WE AS STUDENTS ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN THEY MAKE US OUT TO BE AND WE'VE CAME A LONG WAY.
    - WITH MR.PAPPY THEIR WAS A RELATIONSHIP THAT NO ONE CAN TAKE ON. HE WAS MORE THAN A PRINCIPAL. HE HELPED SO MANY, HE WAS NO MENACE TO SOCIETY. HE WAS A BIG SUPPORT TO THE BODY AS A WHOLE!
    - Anthony J. D'Angelo YOU HAVE SOME NERVE TO SPEAK ON WHAT HE DID WRONG OR WHAT HE DID WRONG. I DON'T SEE YOU WALKING THE HALLS OF HHS "ATTEMPTING" TO MAKE A CHANGE! ITS PRETTY SICK AND PETTY OF YOU TO BLOG ABOUT ANYBODY AT THIS POINT, YOU DIDN'T KNOW HIM AND STILL DON'T.
    -AS FAR AS IM CONCERNED, MR.PAPPY LIVES ON. TIME AFTER TIME HE WAS THERE FOR US. WHEN WE WANTED TO GIVE UP, NOT ONLY GOD BUT PAPPY SAID "NOT SO". HE DON'T KICK YOU OUT FOR ANY REASONS AT ALL, HE SEE TO IT THAT YOU GET SOME HELP TO BETTER YOURSELF. HE WAS A COACH, A COUNSELOR, A FATHER, A FRIEND AND NOW AND ANGEL ..

    Anthony J. D'Angelo it may be time for you to re-eveluate your thoughts !!


    ..stay stong brOther !!

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  12. Hello to every one, this is how I feel, Mr.E.Pappy was a storng person and when I first came to hillside my 9th grade year I enjoyed having a father in my life(Mr.Pappy). There are alot of things I can say about Mr.Pappy, but this will be the only thing I can say, my first year at HHS was bad i mean i din't care about any body and i would try my best to hurt their feelings but then I meet Mr.Pappy and he said to me "you have alot of anger in you, let me help you release it," so a few weeks went bad and Mr. pappy came and said i got a good solution for you, and i asked him "what now Mr.Pap," he said to me "go and try out Mr.Tabb in the theater department, so just to make a long story short i tried out and i found a way 2 release angry and to have fun in life. Now I am a SENIOR at HHS and a rising THEATER major. Is Hillside bad? NO
    Is Hillside ever going to get it right? Yes. Leadership is action, not a postion. Having an article talking about us,Then having another one saying that you are with us is a little confusing. Either you are with the media or not with them.

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  13. STOP! And pump your breaks. Please allow me to introduce a real man to you! "Ladies & Gentleman I bring to you the UNSTOPABLE; Earl Pappy"

    Now if you don't know him, and I mean KNOW HIM, than chill!

    When Mr. Pappy arrived in Richmond @ Boushall the first thing he said was it's his way or the high way and you can go tell REA. We were ready to through him back to NC. 30 days later he was crowned King Pappy. Many staff members understood that he was about honesty, trust, getting the job done and moving this school to accreditation at all cost. I remember him saying at a staff meeting, "If you ever wanted anything for your class, now is the time to ask for it because I'm new and they just might get it for me faster".

    He LOVES his work, students and parents. He became an Icon in the community. He help build lives and got respect even from the thugs and dealers when he walked into a community PTA meeting. The parents didn't come to the school so he went to them. He set up PTA meeting in places that the police didn't hang around. He gave every opportunity to allow any staff members (Cafetira, Janitor, Aide or teacher) to go back to school to enhance their career. He made Principals out of teachers and administrators out of teachers aides.

    At George Wythe, he took over a school that also became accredited under his leadership. Lives of the students, staff and parents changed. George Wythe was the school everyone wanted to go to. Bow Wow was an ideal I brought to him an he allow me to bring him and many other National Rap Artist and Stars as long as they talked about the SOLs. The only thing Mr. Pappy didn't like was if you miss treated the students.

    He gave his all to what ever he did. DO YOU KNOW HIM?

    I can go on and on. He was not looking for work; Work was looking for him!

    Now he had a few FANS; I mean HATERS! They love to keep him in the wide, kept him noticeable and made sure he was popular. Thank you HATERS, job well done because the Angles in Heaven are doing the Roll Calling and when him name is announced there will be a standing ovation!

    Willis

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  14. Jared Brown HHS SeniorJanuary 21, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    I will say that I personally don't believe that you attacked Mr. Pappy (going off your words), but I will say that It's difficult to see that you're uplifting an individual and his achievements if you write graffiti all over his stepping stone. It lessens the point that this individual is doing something positive. Now because I don't know you as a person and I'm only familiar with two of your articles (this one and the one that initially bashed hillside) my comment is not meant as negative. However as a senior at Hillside I can't help but provide my insight. As Racquel mentioned, most of us students were ignorant to some of the roadblocks the Mr. Pappy came into contact with. Even more mysterious to us was what seemed like a impromptu decsion to leave after we had built such strong and meaningful bonds. However as more information is released to us about why he left it becomes more of a touchy subject. I know for a while I thought that he would be replaced with some Arrogant has-been that would do nothing but come in and do away with everything that Mr. Pappy tried to do. We were extremely fortunate in being blessed with Mr. Lassiter, who shares the same passion about Hillside and its students. I've often joked with man of my friends that It felt like we were filming the updated version of Lean on Me with both Mr. Pappy and Mr. Lassiter but our situation is by NO MEANS that bad. That connection was only made to highlight the "hands-on" philosophy that Mr. Pappy and Mr. Lassiter shared with the principle in the movie because though many can't see it sometimes the only way to affect the whole is one person at a time. Nothing in society comes with the "right now" attitude that American Society is so common for pretending to have. Nothing comes right away. You have to wait for your fast food burgers to finish being nuked and even your latest iPhone has to load, so It is not fair that we expect A man to come in to a new environment and make drastic changes over night, and that I do agree with you on. Even a yearly change comes slow. But these are things we know and are working to fix. we have no become comlacent wit our limited success. There still is a long way to go but you show me a school that doesnt. Show me a district that has raised their bar by even the increment that we have, no matter how seemingly little. The issue comes when on-lookers want to label Hillside as a low performing school then compare it's progress to schools that are considered high performing or better performing. How is that possible? How can you place someting in a category then measure it's growth by comparing it to something in a different category? You'd grow tired of that too were you in our shoes. You'd grow tired of people asking what school do you go to, then when you reply Hillside they respond with a face that appears like they swallowed something disgusting, followed by a sarcastic "Hows that going?" So forgive us if we seem a little short. Don't take it personal. Applaud us for standing up when everyone wants to knock us down, (you saw the crowd of students at the end of Lean on me. Be glad we're gathering for a positive cause) Be there January 26 to be the first to contribute to our Penny drive for Haiti. Be there February 5-7 to witness "The Story" as we attempt to educate and entertain the community. And be there June 10, 2010 at Cameron Stadium at 8am to see how many of us graduate. I guarantee it won't make it past channel 4. The point is if we are in such a horrible place why are so many of us fighting so had for it? Why wouldn't we be fighting to get out? Mr. Pappy didn't..and Mr. Lassiter won't either.

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  15. As a current teacher at Hillside who prefers to stay anonymous for professional reasons, I agree both with those who say that Mr. Pappy was not a good fit for Hillside and those who say he genuinely cared about the students of Hillside.

    There was a lot of chaos at Hillside under Mr. Pappy's leadership. Many of our students struggled due to the lack of structure and consequences and some teachers (including me) felt undervalued and powerless. This does not necessarily mean that Mr. Pappy was a bad principal in general. It just means that his strengths as a leader did not match up with Hillside's needs, and Mr. Pappy did not seem willing to change his leadership style to meet Hillside's needs.

    However, it is clear from the many student testimonials that have been pouring in that Mr. Pappy established great relationships with many students and was a life-changing influence for many. That is something that I as an educator also strive for, and that achievement cannot be downplayed.

    I have to say that I am more interested in our students getting a good education at Hillside than how the community/media portrays Hillside, though I certainly understand our students' frustration with Hillside's negative image. They feel that way because they HAVE gotten a good education at Hillside. I just hope that every single one of our students, from the IB valedictorian to the perpetual hall walker, is getting that education. And that is why we need a structured environment and a strong disciplinarian. I believe Mr. Lassiter is indeed meeting those needs for Hillside while also forming great relationships with students and valuing teachers.

    Finally, I am a little confused about this article's last point. What could we, the community, have done to support Mr. Pappy in his job search?

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  16. Hi my name is Desidre Fennell and im a senior at hillside. Le me first just start off by saying that everyone is HUMAN so keep this idea in mind. Mr. Pappy was a great principle. He created bonds with his students. Now i know your thinking its not his job to be creating bonds but to be changing the school. But thats the first step of making a change. Mr. Pappy played more than just a authority roll, he was also a FATHER figure to most of the males and females in the school. He gave us chances and opportunity to change our pessimistic ways. He just didnt throw negative behavior out on the streets on their first offense. That is what the school board wanted him to do... he tried giving aid and help to those that were victims of troubled homes. he was a authoritarian and took action when needed. STudents looked up to him as a role model. They respected him as a friend and principle. Yes, Mr. Pappy may have made mistakes, but like i said before EVERYONE is human. It isnt right that you basically throw him out because of responsibilities PARENTS are suppose to be upholding. The root starts at home not at school. You cannot blame a principle because YOU have a disruptive child. Now he is dead because of an enormous amount of stress that was put upon his heart. I would throw the blame around but i know it was GODS decision to take him away. He had a purpose and i will not question it. And i say all of this to say this, Mr. Earl Pappy's spirit will never be lost, even if he isnt physically with us. He DID make alot of positive changes and i thank him for that. WE love him and he WONT be forgotten. I just hope CERTAIN PEOPLE don't treat another man like you treated him. R.I.P Mr. PAPPY!!!<3 OH YEA...HE WAS MORE THAN A TALL MAN IN A SUIT.. WORDS FROM MR. PAPPY: Rebuilding and Redefining Academic Excellence EVERYONE HAVE A GREAT DAY!

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  17. Apperance captures the Eyes, But personality captures the HEART. Never have i ever met someone who was willing to carry the whole World on his back, just to help one student. So humble, and Geniunly a good man, is What Mr.Pappy was. I Transferred to hillside the second semester of my Junior year. And talked to Him more in that short span of time than I had ever talked to my previous principle of 3 years. It takes alot to be the MAN everyone wants you to be day in and day out. And from the bottom of my heart i KNOW he tried. You can't expect a man to get in there and change things so instantly. The same with Obama, the same with Martin Luther king. Change TAKES time. MLK didnt even get to witness his dreams, but he made strides toward them, just as Mr.Pappy did. But because it wasn't fast enough, and outsiders had such an input. He couldn't prove himself, to the outsiders. And we as students knew just how HARD he was trying. Hillside has produced GREAT students, and will continue to do that... And you can thank Mr.Pappy for many of our success.

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  18. I feel so bad for him because he was a good man. And before he left he did tell me what had happen but God knows and it is no use bringing it up now. You complain so much about not having a good man to help our students at Hillside High School. As a parent of two students that went to HillsideI saw the good, bad and ugly. The main ones that was complaining was the ones who wanted to take control of the school. But look and read at all the lives he touched now it is to late he died with a broken heart. He protected my daughter at Hillside I could come to the school anytime of the day and my child felt safe. How do you people who drove him to death feel now. And I bet you are the main ones with no children at Hillside or the ones he got rid of in the school so everybody else could learn. God have mercy on your soul. Mr. E. Pappy is gone but will never but forgotton thank you for making a differnce in so many young peoples lives. Then need to bring back Mr. Panky but oh I forgot he cared about the students also. Any time they have someone to care they want them out. But God has him now he only had 51 years on this earth but he made a diffence. God bless you Mr. Pappy.

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  19. "Most think it’s just a school. No, this is the ghetto baby, and this is the way we do it. This is what a school looks like with the culture of the hood takes control." was the quote that lefted me shocked when I read the blog "Another One Bites the Dust: Hillside Principle Dismissed". Then to read "The Death of Earl Pappy" made it seem like there were two different authors. No wonder students (including myself) are mad, to see and read the negative comments about him when he was alive and now that he has passed it seems like THIS BLOG defends him and feels sorry for him. Even though the media does seem to broadcast the more negative things of Hillside I feel that most of those comments made were unneccessary. Every student that walks the halls of Hillside has potential and though it is predominantly black, HOOD is NOT the word to use, because that puts everyone in that category - but it seems that the ones who choose to act out or don't care about their education are the ones who always seems to get interviewed or put in the spotlight. Mr. Pappy was a wonderful, loving, caring, and RESPECTED man! He was always willing to help and listen to whatever problem someone had, and to many he became a father figure. I'm glad I had the priveledge to know him, be under his authority and end my senior year with someone like him. Every time I was on stage dancing or performing with the band, you could always find him somewhere around eating his peanuts..SUPPORTING! He REALLY cared about us. Of course one man, or even a group of people can't change a whole school overnight...He's HUMAN! There are faults in every school and I'm sick and tired of STILL hearing only about negative things. The legacy still* leaves on, and it makes me happy to see how much he meant to everyone...

    -Ashleigh (c/o '09)

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  20. Jessica 'jt' TaylorJanuary 21, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    I am a 2008 Graduate of Hillside High School. And in my eyes Mr.Pappy was the one person who kept me at Hillside. He did his best to get Hillside's test scores back up but he's not god. He is simpily a man and as man he can only do so much. He has made a huge impact in my life and I will always remember everything he did for me as well as the rest of the Class of 2008, as well as 2007, and 2009. He had impacted all of our lives in one way or another and he will be truly missed!
    R.I.P. Daddy Pappy

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  21. I want to know why is it that Hillside is the only school you talk about in your blogs. Southern Durham's test scores were and still are lower than ours, where is their story?? Before Mr. Pappy came the old Hillside principal was given a job. When Southern got a new principal the old one was given a job with Durham Public Schools...where was Mr. Pappy's?? The bad part about this is your profile says that your a pastor too...so doesn't that mean your supposed to be uplifting and not stepping on our school. Where was the media when HILLSIDE GRADUATE John Lyons got a full-ride to HARVARD! Where was the media when Hillside got the most athletic scholarships(even though not academic children are still going to college!)What school has a drama department that performs all over the world?? ONLY HILLSIDE has that! Where is all that stuff at? Mr. Pappy was a GREAT principal. I'm so glad you said WE in "Is that what happens after we throw people among the wolves to be devoured while attempting to make a difference?" You, the community, and the media just threw him under the bus! It seems from day one you all doubted him. He only had support form certain people because some believed Hillside was too far gone. It only takes one to make a change...why weren't you the one to show the media that Hillside is not a bad school? You are apart of our community so basically you helped end Mr. Pappy's days as pricipal...yes the truth need to be put to the forefront but were SICK and TIRED of this NEGATIVE light. Come in the school and what were really about!!!!

    ~Jewel Wright
    Miss Homecoming Queen/ Student Body Treasurer

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  22. HI, I AM PARIS FREEMAN ....ALL I CAN KEEP THINKING OF IS HE PROMISED ME ON THE PHONE THAT HE WOULD BE AT OUR GRADUATION...(NO DOUBT) WHEN I CALLED FOR THE NORMAL HOLIDAY GREETING I WOULD GIVE HIM AND HIS FAMILY ON XMAS DAY...!!...it really makes me sad and hurt inside when i think about how someone career and hope can be taken away from them so quickyl! All because of someone expectations on what they feel a principal should be to them. As my fellow classmate and friend desidre said having a relationship and ACTUALLY knowing your students is the first step mr. Pappy KNEW us and made us feel safe as if we were his on child! How COULD THAT HARM ANYONE! He kept the thugs out the hallway he kept the kids who felt there was no hope and need to strive further,he kept them pushing!...NO he didnt KICK EVERY STUDENT OUT ONCE THEy DID SOMETHING WRONG!..So is that what made him bad!..I Do believe the alumni forgot what we are in school for..TO LEARN..which meant his goal was to keep kids in school and help the ones who didnt have interest in learning find interst for it!...And thats what he did!..HONESTLY EGARDLESS OF WHT HAS BEEN SAID EARL PAPPY WILL ALWAYS REMAIN IN MY HEART AS FAMILY!..hE WAS WHAT HILLSIDE HIGH SCHOOL NEEDD SOMEONE TO STAND BEHIND US WITH PRIDE AND THATS WHAT HE DID!......P.S. NO ONE CAN CHANGE WHAT THE COMMUNITY HAVE DONE TO A INNOCENT MAN'S LIFE!.. GRANDAD PAPPY ID GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN!!!!

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  23. It seems as if you decided to pride Mr. Pappy for his personal character and aura, but not for his for work as the principal of Hillside. You also referred to him as a man who was basically set up by Durham Public Schools to fail. Was this conclusion made just because of the fact that his position was being held at Hillside High School? As a student, this defends me and my student body as a whole. You have failed to recognize what Mr. Pappy has done to help uplift and refine the standards and reputations of Hillside.In my opinion he was not given enough time nor support to quickly reach the goals that DPS had put in front of me. With the legacy of Hillside being so powerful in the Durham community, you would suspect that support and NOT criticism would help motivate Mr. Pappy to get the job done.

    As far as the criticisms on the Hillside Student Body and bad media, it seems as if things are never going to change. If you have the opportunity to showcase the better parts of the school and don't wish to downgrade it, why not take advantage of it? We all recognize that Hillside has room for improvement in different departments but the changes that have been made has yet to be communicated in such a detailed way that the negative issues have.

    As an IB Senior, I have seen Hillside as a whole go through alot. I am apart of the Marching Band, HHS Dance Company and Vice-President of the Ladies of Kappa League; a community service organization. There are also many students how are highly involved and dedicated to this school. But their efforts and involvement has been put on the back burner because of negative issues that have been broadcast to categorize Hillside. Take the Ricky Green attendance story. Hillside is NOT full of out of control teenagers and gangs that fight everyday.

    All in all, if the community was exposed to the good that Hillside has, they would be more than delighted to devote their time and energy into helping support the students, faculty and staff. But if you are unwilling to listen and don't consider other perspectives then your comments are likely to be biased.

    R.I.P. Mr. Pappy
    -Katrice Thomas-
    IB Student & PROUD Hornet
    Class of 2010

    ReplyDelete
  24. First off, Rest in Peace to Mr pappy,an excellent leader. Im proud that he was my principle for 3 years. Reguardless of what others may think, pappy had his on way of keeping the school under control. Any student can tell you that, when pappy gave you a certain look , he meant business. And so far as pappy"s ways of going about punishment, he believed that all students should be in school. If suspention isnt nessisary, he thought of other ways to punish you. Carl Kenny as much as you try you couldnt be half the man pappy was.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  27. Mr. Pappy was a great individual that cared for his students. I know if there was anything I needed I could go to him. His was like a father to many of his students. Mr. Pappy has helped shape the young man I am today!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's going to take more than a man in a nice suit to change the Hillside I agree, but when are they going to show up? People continuously trash Hillside and these same people are the ones who are complicit in the down fall of Hillside. We can only take so much criticism before action must be taken. Writing blogs and whatever else about how negative the school is, isn't helping to "Rebuild and Redefine Academic Excellence" as Mr. Pappy so clearly instilled into the hearts and minds of the students.
    My International Baccalaurete education at Hillside has opened my eyes to truly see how uninvolved this community is entirely. It is so easy to stand on the sidelines and call people out instead of actually being involved. In your posts, you state that you are a cause of the problem when you said “He walked away after being pressured by members of the alumni association, some parents and folks like me to turn things around at the troubled school.” You question why Mr. Pappy couldn’t find a job. Instead we should be celebrating his life, not his short comings.
    You continue to dwell on the negatives by pointing out what teachers said and you continue to say that you are defending him? I'm not seeing how the principal is to blame for a parent or community member’s short comings and apathy towards a child's education; if you don't care then what makes you think the student, teacher, or even the principal care about your child's education? That’s what made Earl Pappy so great; he did care. He picked up the slack from all those complicit apathetic parents and community members who didn't want to get involved. Now people want to slander his name by saying he wasn't a good fit for Hillside?
    Well it clearly "takes a village to raise a child" and Mr. Pappy was only a small part of the "village" EVERYONE ELSE is responsible for doing the rest. Once people open their minds like my friend Sakeinah stated, will there ever be change in the most talked about school in this district.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi. My name is Kayla Barham and I am a senior at Hillside. I am very proud of my school despite all the negativity it has been given. Part of the negativity includes these blogs. It seems like you (Carl Kenney) just wants publicity by bashing Hillside. Can you talk about the positive for once? When was the last time you came to Hillside? Who were the students you interviewed? Obviously not the over-acheivers.

    These blogs are very disturbing. This blog makes it seem like you feel sorry for Mr.Pappy. He was a great man! I knew him for 3 years and had a personal relationship with him through my parents. He always greeted me when I came to school and told me not to worry about the media because they are so negative.

    Its amazing because Hillside showed the most support at his funeral. We loved him! He has done so much for us. I loved him dearly. I can't wait to see what your next blog is about.

    Kayla Barham

    ReplyDelete
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  31. Now, Mr. Kenny.. I have to agree that your stand is very confusing. Your views have a very negative undertone and I think that is proven in the many responses of children you have offended. As a member of the media..it is important to report facts..but the story always allows you into the mindset of the writer/journalist. Look at the O'Reilly Factor...your blogs remind me of that type of media. You say your a supporter butx why don't your readers feel that..why is it not balanced? If you feel that soo many people aren't taking your spirit correctly...step back and take a look again. As a minister...why are so many people offended by you! Why does someone have to ponder on whether you are for them or against them. How can you encourage people to do more with action vs negative words?WRITE SOMETHING ENCOURAGING! Make people want to get involved by passion..not anger. Try writing a blog that isn't bashing something or someone connected with Hillside. Students wrote you before about how they felt...you decided to put the grammatical errors on blast...but then say you looked past that to see what they were feeling (or the meaning). That wasn't necessary..unless you were trying..once again to show the negative side of their writing skills. As a journalist.. who is trying to help students at Hillside...why not get with those kids, acknowledge their feelings and then on a one on one basis...show them the errors you found..and provide that guidance. Help them understand that there are people in the world who will pay attention to that and help them learn from it, rather than copy and past their comments and embarass them...or was it to embarass the teachers/prinicipal at the school?? One thing I can say...things like this should make our kids stronger and work harder to get out the positive things they are doing and hope someone takes notice. But that's not news..is it? I hate to see that you felt the need to imply that his Hillside experience had something to do with Mr. Pappy's death.. why not just let the man rest in peace..you really don't know why...maybe just because that what GOD wanted to do...! Mr. Lassister has tried to get the medica to report the good that is happening..but they aren't interested. Let something negative happen..and they're there... riddle me that. How about you be the difference.. report something good..interview the students who have so boldly stood up! Not just an apology letter.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Mr. Pappy was a good Principal and good man. He believed in free appropiate education for all. In my last conversation with Mr. Pappy, we discussed it was not his fault concerning the test scores at Hillside. If a kid couldn't read in elementary and middle school then the Principal should not be at fault when the child reach High School.

    In reference to Ms. Thomas and her comment concerning my son. Until you know the entire story, you should not comment. I do offer you the opportunity to learn the full story and then hope you offer an apology in public. Ricky Green's story was not just about attendance but about a disability that was missed for his entire school career because administrators did not listen and thought they knew it all.

    Mr. Pappy understood a difficult situation and admitted when he did not have an clue about a problem or a solution. All he would say is we will just keep working on it. Ricky and Mr. Pappy had a relationship only they understood. He understood Ricky's behavior was not caused because Ricky was bad. He knew Ricky was a good kid whom for some reason could not handle the anxiety school caused him. Mr. Pappy and I had many discussions concerning Ricky. We knew something was not right but never could get a handle on what was causing the anxiety and behavior.

    MR. PAPPY NEVER THREW RICKY AWAY AS MR. LASSITER DID. Mr. Pappy's and my goal was to graduate Ricky and to keep trying to find out what was causing the behavior. We wanted Ricky to achieve his ultimate goal.

    What they did to Mr. Pappy was wrong and Durham Public School Administrator know it. Their new solution is to kick out every child whom they thing cannot achieve the high test scores or whom they feel is unacceptable in their eyes.

    MY PREDICTION IS MR. LASSITER WILL NOT LAST EITHER.

    If the problem with elementary and middle schools that feed Hillside learning is not improved, then noone will be able to achieve the goals required at Hillside.

    Children are learning to pass the test but are not actually learning the material. Learning is about long-term and working memory not short term memory. Teachers are cramming all the test material into the students; however the students have not actually learned the tools to use the material.

    Mr. Pappy your understanding have already been missed at Hillside. Fear and intimidation now rules Hillside students and teachers.

    The children wanted a memorial at Hillside for Mr. Pappy; lets see if it happens. Will there be a fund-raiser for some kind of reminder of Mr. Pappy. Maybe a bench in his honor, a plant or tree with a stone.

    Mr. Pappy your presence will never be forgotten with many students and parents.

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  33. To all the students who knew Mr. Pappy, don't let anyone take you donw in the dirt with them. Some people will never understand the finer things in life, like putting a child on the right path, or taking time to talk to a trouble teen and taking the trouble away. Remenber what Mr. Pappy tought you and take the HIGH ROAD as Mr. Pappy would want you too do. People will talk about you untill the day you die,(AS WE SEE!!!) but they can't take away your PRIDE, or EDUCATION. Keep the bar high, and don't let anyone make you feel unworthy. Mr. Pappy love us all and as any parent he was there for all his children. Let your GRATITUDE for Mr. Pappy shine, once you graduate come back and make a difference. The cycle must continue. Show the next generation the LOVE Mr. Pappy showed You. Don't let what Carl Kenny saids get to you, because I agree with Grant Thomas, only I know Carl Kenny is only half a man, and as such will never know what Mr. Pappy knew. Stay Strong Hillside High School.

    Parent of 07 & 09 Graduates

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  34. To Ms. Alexander,
    I feel there is no apology needed. The perspective that many of the students have seen is that you blame Hillside for your child's issues and disabilities, when in fact YOU are responsible for him. If things start to become too consistent, then that should be a hint to you that maybe its not due to the environment at Hillside, but possibly personal issues. Anxiety is a symptom of many disorders. That could have easily been take care of if you continued to press forward with the issue and actually find a reasoning for it. But instead of that, you allowed things to remain the same and you put the blame on the faculty and staff. You cannot blame Hillside for doing its job.

    And obviously you are oblivious to the works that current principal, Mr. Lassiter is doing to improve Hillside. Your assumption that he will not last just speaks pessimism. Only after a semester, Mr. Lassiter has done GREAT things for Hillside!! HIs organizational skills mesh with the faculty and also helps the students with preparation. He's take approx. 56 students under his wing to personally guide them through the full college application/FAFSA process. The number of tardies and violence have both drastically decreased. SGA President Racquel Bethea and other members put together an "Exam Jam" which was a celebration for our upcoming tests and the reaching of our projected test scores. So I ask, Where is your proof that "children are not learning the material" at Hillside. Have you took a survey? Done any interviews? Or are you just assuming from your child's experience? We cannot let the community base the school off of one individual and their mishaps. And your story was a way for the media to take advantage of you and try to exploit Hillside as a terrible environment to learn.

    Also, instead of waiting to "see" if a memorial happens for Mr.Pappy, why dont you take initiative and gather other community members to push forward and actually make it happen. Your positive involvement is what the school needs now to break barriers and push pass all the negativity.

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  39. DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS KILLED EARL PAPPY, and they would have killed me too if I had let them. I gave them 10 years of my life, and they let me go because a principal did not like me. I was blackballed, and I could not find a job anywhere. I had to leave my home, church, family, and all of my familiar surroundings to find a job. I know what they will do to you. They made the mistake, knew that they did, and they would not right the wrong. I knew that they were after me, just as they were Mr. Pappy. They want to blame their mistakes on someone else. Durham Public Schools is the worst school system on earth, and that school board too. They will reap what they sew, the Bible says it. God knows, and He will fix it.

    ReplyDelete