Rev. Lonnie Alford Retires After 30 Years Of Educating Young Minds

Rev. Lonnie H. Alford, affectionately known in Riverdale, Newtown and the Skillet communities as “L.H.”, has retired after 30 years of educating young minds.
He is the son of the late Mr. Edmund and Mrs. Breatha Israel Alford of Dillon, SC and the adopted son of the late Mr. Henry and Mrs. Georgia Belin Bethea of Latta (Skillet Community), and the Godson of the late Deacon James Crawford and his widow Mrs. Rae Crawford of Dillon, SC.
He is a graduate of Latta High School. He earned a B.S. degree in Child Development Early Childhood Education from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC. and a Master’s Degree at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, and Mortuary Science studies at The American Academy McAllister Funeral Institute in New York City.
Rev. Alford’s objective as an educator was to enhance active cooperation of all interested individuals and groups concerned with the total development of young minds. To be able to substantiate the many decisions he had to make regarding students instructional programs, it is essential that each lesson (subject) maintain a continuous appraisal of children’s personal, social, physical and intellectual development.
Rev. Alford’s mission as an educator is to ensure that all creed or color develop a positive self-concept to be qualified and consistent with their ability, to function as responsible citizens, to be qualified, consistent with their interests, needs and aspirations, to continue their education and to enter the world of work with common respect and appreciation of all mankind regardless of their status in life.
He often stressed to his students never ever look back nor give up. Don’t ever lower your standards to be accepted by others, and that one can’t change the past, but that one can control the future, and to go as far and as high as your ambitions will allow. While teaching in the public schools of Robeson County, Rev. Alford was named Teacher of the Year for three years. He often stressed an expression that of Mrs. Ruby Carter (Dillon County retired educator), “That before one can become an effective teacher, one must know themselves.”
He continues to stress that in order to gain the trust of his students. A teacher’s heart has many rooms. Each room has a different key. Love, concern, faith and prayer can and will unbolt the different rooms. Patience and compassion will unlock locks of tightly shuttered minds, letting in the light of hope and encouragement. Only then can lives be changed.
What a child learns early in life starting at home can and will affect them for the rest of their life. He often told his students if you want something you never had, you need to do something you’ve never done.
Rev. Alford’s thirty years as an educator speaks clearly for itself through his former students, parents, co-workers, principals, community and school board. He now states that it was more than a blessing to have taught school for thirty wonderful years. “Not everyday was a sunny day. In order to get too one has to go through just as Jesus was hung up for our hang ups. Therefore I won’t complain because my good days outweigh my bad days. But sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. But to everything there is as season and a time to every purpose under the Heavens. Yes I feel that I’ve completed my task an educator and have certainly proven to those former administrators and teachers during my earlier years while at Gordon Elementary as being classified Limited Academically. All that I and the other students needed was more of what Mrs. Betty Mitchell gave to each of her students. She often told us that we can do anything if we stay focused and apply ourselves. The love, patience, faith, concern and understanding that she shared continued throughout my professional career. I’m proud to say that 98% of my former students keep in touch and are doing extremely well in their chosen profession. There’s a story behind my praise. Now it’s time to retire as I ponder over the blessed memories as and educator of young minds.”

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