“WHY, YES…. YES, YOU CAN”
That’s what one of my favorite teachers said to me , all the time… I mean every day, every lesson.
Mr. Ray Wishart taught at my high school for 40 years. He just retired in May. He first taught drafting, and then shop.
He was my junior class sponsor. 1982 was the year I really got to know Mr. Wishart.
He was a hippy. He had a beard, long hair, wore flannel shirts…he was the cool teacher.
At that time, I was 16 , he was just 29.
One of the younger teachers at my school.
He was so positive about EVERYTHING! I mean from, should we paint the parking lot? To, of course we’re going to win the state championship in football. He didn’t speak the negative.
Teachers come in and out of our lives. Chances are you can name all your teachers beginning in 1st grade… I can, and I”m a dork, I know.
But, Mr. Wishart made an impact on my life… my whole life.
I know I should call him Ray, but he will always be the teacher that changed the game. He would organize trips, he would design a t shirt to sell for fundraising. He would build the homecoming floats. He would ruffle feathers at the school board. He would be a big proponent of kids learning in a unique and entertaining way.
He wanted to start a photography class at Mosley High school, and finally got it done. He started the video / tv program there, too. DTV has helped a bunch of us dolphins move on to careers in TV / Radio.
I’ll never forget when I was a senior, and I was doing the morning announcements. He came by the office, and gave me a quick critique.
“You have a great voice for this…slow down…and talk to us, like you don’t have it written down”.
I can still hear that in my head when I reading the sports updates.
Ray paved the road for so many… He started a class at his church called ‘PUB THEOLOGY” , because ‘ we all like a beer”. Those classes were standing room only.
He was a devout christian, a great husband of 39 years, father of two, grandfather of one.
He died this past Monday.
“Wish” loved to ride his bike. He did long trips, short trips, you name it.
On the very first Monday of his retirement, he was biking in his neighborhood in Lynn Haven Florida, and was hit by a truck.
He died at the hospital later.
I am still broken hearted over the tragedy. Why??? Ray??? Know we’re not supposed to ask those questions, but all I can figure is that he really worked overtime for the better here on earth.
I’m so thankful that I had a chance to tell him how he helped me, how he motivated me, how he made me laugh, and that I thought he was really cool.
I’m writing this to challenge you to tell your favorite coach, teacher, mentor how they’ve changed your life for the better.
Teachers and coaches have such a huge impact on young people’s lives.
Hundreds, maybe thousands, showed up at the Wish celebration of life at our high school gym. Most were wearing pink tye dye shirts. Most brought their favorite photograph that he had taught them to take. Most were crying…. most were laughing.
The kids that spoke at the ceremony were poised and brilliant. Applause , applause, Mr.Wishart. Know you were proud….
You are missed….
– Sandra Golden
“The Front Row”