Gov. Haley Barbour has declared Saturday, May 2, as “Nell Thomas Day” in the State of Mississippi and the retired Greenville High School English teacher will be honored on that day with a recognition program and reception at First United Methodist Church in Greenville.
The program is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in the church sanctuary, followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall. All former students and friends of Mrs. Thomas are invited.
The highlight of the program will be the official announcement of the establishment and funding of the Nell Thomas Endowed Scholarship at Delta State University, the nationally recognized educator’s alma mater. The scholarship will benefit a student from Greenville in DSU’s teacher education program.
Other activities will include the presentation of the governor’s proclamation and a resolution passed by the Mississippi legislature commending Mrs. Thomas’ service to the youth of the state.
In addition, a bound album commemorating the event and containing testimonials from former students will be presented to Mrs. Thomas.
“This is a long overdue tribute to one of America’s master teachers and we invite her friends and former students to join us for this joyous occasion,” said Billy Gamble of St. Augustine, FL, a former student and coordinator of the scholarship committee.
“More than 150 of Mrs. Thomas’ former students contributed to the scholarship endowment and indications are that many of them will travel to Greenville from throughout the country to demonstrate their love for and appreciation of this lady who meant so much to so many,” Gamble said.
Mrs. Thomas taught English for 31 years at E.E. Bass and Greenville High School and was recognized as Mississippi’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year and runner-up for National Teacher of Year in 1965. She was named Delta State’s Outstanding Alumnus the same year.
Serving with Gamble on the Scholarship Committee are Bob Joyce of Knoxville, TN, Charles Tubertini of Starkville and Leroy Morganti of Benoit.