A Thousand Words
By Jock Lauterer
When word reached town that May Marshbanks had passed at 95 down in Buies Creek, it set off a flurry of Internet chatter among old Chapel Hill High School grads, who, like me, remember â€œMother Mayâ€ for the strong, yet accessible and caring principal that she was. Classmate Becky Tatum Hilstad (class of â€™63) said it best: â€œI donâ€™t think we appreciated at the time how very unique and special she was. I know I was pretty much terrified that I might ever get called into her office and fortunately managed to avoid that!Â Now I know that her style was a good thing for us all and have nothing but admiration for this great lady.â€ Great lady, indeed; she was the stateâ€™s first woman principal of a public high school, and her years at the helm, 1955-70, spanned some tumultuous times. Her moniker, â€œMother May,â€ was one born of a healthy mix of fear and respect. These two photographs from my musty, dusty albums capture two sides of â€œMiz Marshbanksâ€ â€“ grinning with satisfaction as Rusty Edmister receives his diploma at commencement in 1962, and then thereâ€™s our principal caught at a candid moment, rake in hand, on the front lawn of CHHS (present-day University Square) during a campus-wide clean-up day. Thank you, Mother May.
A THOUSAND WORDS
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