Woman of determination

Published 4:35 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006

By Staff
Letter to the Editor
I want to talk about a great woman. In this day and time there are very few women that are true role models but I have had the honor to marry into a family that has one and her name is Judy Branum. Mrs. Branum has probably taught half the people in this town and you can not think of the Academy without thinking of Mrs. Branum. She has been at that school longer that most people are married. She loves that school and the children who have gone there and are presently there. She may not have been one of those teachers or headmasters who allowed the rules to be broken and she sure didn't take much "junk" from anyone, but no one can say that she wasn't dedicated to that school and those kids.
Mrs.Branum has sacrificed many things over the years-vacations, tenure, paid retirement, state benefits, etc.-because she believed in that school and her loyalty wouldn't allow her to leave. I don't believe many people realize that Mrs.Branum did many things at the Academy that wasn't required of her but she wouldn't have traded any of that for anything. The Academy has never had a more dedicated, loyal, ethical employee and Mrs. Branum has thirty-five years to prove it.
It was a sad day when I found out that Mrs. Branum would no longer be at the Escambia Academy, but I am more upset that she wasn't allowed to retire with the dignity she deserved. She wasn't given the opportunity to say good-bye to her students and the school she so dearly loved. She wasn't even given a retirement party, and after thirty-five years at the same school she deserved that, but when your contract isn't renewed, your not given that chance. I would think that when a woman has EARNED her place in the AISA Hall of Fame it would be hard to let her go. To the board members, shame on all of you for treating her that way.
I have always believed that the most important thing one should worry about is the the hyphen between their date of birth and their date of death. Your hyphen represents your life and the lives that you touched and the accomplishments you achieved and Judy Branum can hold her head up with pride because although she may never know exactly how many lives she touched, I promise you it was many. She taught my parents, my husband, my brother and sisters and was the Headmaster over my nephews, and that is a legacy that I am proud of. Thank-you Mrs. Branum for being the woman that you are. I pray that my girls are the strong, determined, loyal and yes, hard-headed woman that you are. I am sorry that thirty-five years ended the way that it did. You deserved better than that. Please know that. Thank you for all that you have done for the children of Atmore.
Rorie Walker

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