The following speech was delivered by Panashe Mutombo, student Board Member of Harford County Board of Education, during Patterson Mill High School’s annual art show after student Thomas Mclean unveiled a portrait he painted of the retiring Patterson Mill principal, Mr. Thibeault. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication:
School isn’t easy. Its hard to wake up everyday before the sun rises. Its hard to be mentally prepared to learn when you can barely keep your eyes open. Its hard to get along with people who sometimes are very rude with you. Its hard to learn when teachers sometimes don’t listen or forget you are a person and not just a student. Its hard to perform at our bests when we are made to feel at our worst. However, one element, one special shade, one outstanding feature made the entire picture of school: serene; our leader.
Yes it was hard to wake up to school, but every morning there was always an enthusiast and wholesome “good morning, how are you this fine day!” Such a simple phrase would at first seem a little off to us because of the passion and spirit, but it would settle in. As we walked away we would feel good about ourselves and feel a little brighter or giddy or maybe we would just have a sly smile at the energy from such an elderly man. This would transcend into a cheerful/manageable mood. As cheerful as you can get at 7am in the morning on a Monday. That little energy would make us a little bit faster at answering or asking questions, being sociable or just saying a friendly “hello!” Our leader set the example and we followed.
As our high school days and years went by we saw this man at everything. We saw him at sporting events, cheering us on to score and be successful, theatrical works wishing everyone to break a leg, and social events, making sure we all had a good time. He not only is a leader by documentation, meetings, and professionalism but he a friend too many, and a person of comfort to all. As students each speech, piece of advice and words he shared with us inspired us to do better and be in the right.
Mr. Wayne Thibeault is Patterson Mill High schools first principal. He led with integrity, respect, insight, passion, awareness, dedication, and energy. He dedicated himself to the students and his staff. He was there when you expected him and there when you needed him. He was there when plans for the school were made and a lot of us are pretty sure he was there to lay a brick down when construction began. He made Patterson Mill truly, the home of the huskies where today we learn and tomorrow we lead. Thank you leading us, thank you Mr. Thibeault for serving us.