After 32 years, Roger Young is retiring from the St. Landry School Board. He worked in Louisiana schools as a teacher and principal just short of 70 years.
Our Abby Breidenbach sat down with Roger Young to take a look back on his career and a look forward at where he thinks schools are headed.
"You know when you’ve been in the system for 68 years, this is just full of beautiful memories," said Young.
Roger Young grew up in St. Landry Parish Schools and was inspired early on to become an educator.
"Even from my first-grade teacher, I remember everything she ever did for me," Young said.
Young began his career as a high school teacher in 1949. 10 years later, he became the first principal of Glendale Elementary before it had air conditioning, shades, or typewriters. It was a move he was once hesitant to make.
"It was a good decision and I stayed there 26 years, because I enjoyed the small kids and I have always been a proponent of doing all you can for kids while they’re young so they can really grow and be successful," Young said.
He led the school through desegregation. "After integration, I had five black teachers assigned to me from Opelousas, I had never worked with black people as an educator," said Young.
It was a tough time for the district, but not for Young, who says he embraced the change and saw those black teachers through the end of their teaching careers in the parish.
"We had a beautiful communication with both races, and we helped each other so much. We learned from them and they learned from us," Young said.
His time as principal only ended up being the halfway point of Young’s education career. His next stop was the St. Landry Parish School Board.
"That’s been my whole life, trying to help, especially the young kids. To me, a child is the most beautiful gift we can have from God," Young said.
Now, it’s time to pass the torch.
"I just wish I was younger than 94 that I could just keep on working with kids, but there comes a time when you have to just step down and let somebody else do it," said Young.
Young says he can’t retire before offering advice to the next generation.
"Sometimes in the negative, you can grown and become more positive because of what’s happening, and you have to remember that the first thing you ought to think of is the children," Young explained.