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“That-a-way, Bo!” Encouragement Makes a Difference

“That-a-way, Bo!”  Those words meant a lot to this freshman, unsure about his chances of success in college.  The memory of his high school counselor’s hesitancy about his college plans were still fresh and caused strong feelings of doubt.

Now, with the words “That-a-way” from the greatest musician he’d ever been around, the possibility of success seemed real – he was going to make it! There were some discouraging times during college, but this professor helped many students perform better than they ever thought possible.

He set high expectations and was relentless in holding to them.  He had the ability to move toward goals in spite of distractions.  He was a learner with his students even as this great man taught them.  He loved his work with such enthusiasm that the lines between work and play were often blurred.

Now, as a school principal and teacher, I am thankful for his influence.  He never set out to provide instruction on how to be a principal, but he taught many lessons and gave me confidence that I benefit from today.

When I am doing my most satisfying work, I sometimes feel like he’s looking over my shoulder saying, “That-a-way, Bo!”  There is no greater satisfaction than knowing you have done your best.  Mr. Wendell Evanson, my band director at Henderson State University, taught me this lesson.  I hope we can help every child learn the joy of work and a job well done.

Wendell Evanson and his former student having a visit.

Wendell Evanson and his former student having a visit.

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