“He can make anyone laugh.” Annapolis College Names Gym for Longtime Educator – Capital Gazette

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In a few weeks, Jim Griffiths’ career at Wiley H. Bates Middle School will come to an end, but his name will remain at the Annapolis facility indefinitely, as the school’s gymnasium was named in his honor on Monday.

Griffiths has worked at Bates for 36 years, teaching physical education and health to every student who passes through the building. Colleagues said his dedication and humor made him an important figure in the school.

Christiana Walsh, district coordinator for health and physical education, said Griffiths has never been shy about lending a helping hand.

“It was more than physical education. He educated the young people here on all things,” she said.

Physical education and health teachers Joan V. Scott and Hayden Lambert said Griffiths was selfless and a department leader who built relationships with staff and students.

Departing staff and retiring workers, including Griffiths, were honored Monday at the final staff meeting of the year at Bates. The school year ends on June 24.

When Griffiths’ name was called, principal Katherine Hicks presented her with a plaque and announced that the gymnasium was named in her honor. A new purple sign with Griffiths’ name was revealed, and it cut the ribbon for the familiar space, now named the James “Jim” Griffiths Gym.

Surrounded by cheering colleagues, Griffiths said the camaraderie of staff was what he would miss most. The last months of the school year have been surreal, he said. And now there are only a few weeks left.

“It’s getting real,” he said.

Hicks said Griffiths took on additional responsibilities at Bates, helping manage the uniform program and making the field day a success each year. He’s also one of the funniest people on staff, she said.

“He can make anyone laugh,” Hicks said.

He made physical education and the gymnasium that bears his name a safe place for everyone, Hicks said. He brought donuts on Fridays.

Retiring staff members Charlotte Tongue, Lauvanda Roundtree and Deborah Talbot were also recognized on Monday for their years of service to the school.

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