The coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of many events in Hendersonville as well as the rest of the nation, with schools being particularly hard hit. For most students, traditional year-end activities such as spring sports, senior weeks, proms and graduations all became casualties of the pandemic.
Students and their parents were not the only ones who lost out on special experiences this year. Many teachers, administrators and other school employees were denied long-anticipated retirement festivities as they finished up their careers earlier than anticipated.
However, thanks to the resourcefulness of the Hendersonville High School Foundation, that was not the case for two Hendersonville High School teachers.
Due to some quick planning by the foundation, retiring Hendersonville Soccer Coach Russ Plummer and Band of Gold Director Dr. Jeff Phillips were able to experience a very special celebration in recognition of their many years of service.
On May 17, the group hosted a Commando Community Parade at Hendersonville High School. During the event, a large gathering of well-wishers drove around in vehicles decorated in traditional black and gold before a viewing stand supporting Plummer and Phillips.
For over an hour, the two retirees were treated to a non-stop parade by students, parents, alumni and other community supporters. Honking horns, flashing lights and waving signs, the socially distanced parade participants clearly enjoyed the experience as much as did the two honorees, who eagerly smiled and waved at each vehicle as it passed by.
When asked about future plans, both men had ready responses.
“Although I will no longer be teaching in a high school, I will remain active,” said Plummer. “I am going to work for the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association.”
“I will keep busy pastoring at Saundersville United Methodist Church and teaching music part-time,” responded Phillips. “However, I won’t be getting up at 5 a.m. any longer.”