Reidsville and Portal ex-students, friends and relatives weathered the frequent rain showers Saturday to honor both Franklin Coleman and Viola Brack. Both former teachers made significant contributions to the community for more than four decades each and both lost their lives in the past few months.
The ceremonies were scheduled to be held on the Portal Middle/High baseball field, where a granite memorial was placed in honor of Coleman and a granite bench memorial was placed in honor of Brack.
When attendees were asked to share their stories about one or both teachers, State Sen. Jack Hill said, "After Franklin graduated from GSC and came to Reidsville in the early '60, I was in the 9th or 10th grade. Franklin was a neat guy - both young and full of energy. He coached the girls' basketball team and he taught me geometry and it went right over my head. He made a great impression on us and he was truly a great friend."
Portal Mayor Larry Motes expressed his appreciation for Brack teaching him in the 7th grade. When discussing Coleman, he said he was raising sows for a school FHA project and had to leave one day to help with his sow having pigs and Coleman wasn't happy about that. However, "He taught me shorthand and accounting and he became a good friend."
Joanne Radcliffe served as top administrator for 10 years while both Coleman and Brack were teachers at Portal. She said, "Many people in this community are better for Franklin and Viola's devotion to the community. Both expected your best and they were college prep teachers."
Justin Chester, Portal's current head football coach, said, "Both wanted to give their best. They loved the Portal community; they laid out a solid foundation for Portal. It was an honor to be in their classrooms."