An educator’s impact can extend beyond the classroom, and the supporters at the Inaugural Conway Public Schools Foundation Hall of Honor banquet got a chance to hear how teachers made an impression on some of Arkansas’ leaders and honor three men who made an impact in Conway’s educational atmosphere.

Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Shane Broadway said his biology teacher in Bryant was one who stands out as having an impact, even if it was not directly intentional.

Broadway said one day he was cleaning the microscopes at the back of the classroom after class when his teacher’s wife came in. His teacher — thinking Broadway was out of earshot — made a comment that stuck with him.

"He looked at his wife and he said, ‘Do you see that kid back there?’" Broadway remembered. "‘His name is Broadway, and he’s going to be somebody someday.’ He didn’t know I heard that."

About 10 years later, Broadway revealed at an honors society banquet that he had heard the comment, bringing a shocked look across the teacher’s face. The unintended encouragement from a comment made across the room had made a lasting impact on Broadway.

The Conway Public Schools Foundation established the Hall of Honor to thank alumni, educators and friends of the district who have lasting impacts on Conway students.

University of Central Arkansas President Tom Courtway was honored as this year’s Distinguished Alumnus. Courtway graduated from Conway High School in 1971, is currently serving as the tenth president of UCA and has held multiple titles such as UCA general council and interim president, vice president of Hendrix College, interim director of the Arkansas Department of Education and state representative, but he revealed Thursday night that being a Wampus Cat is still one of his favorite titles.

"When we’re born, we don’t get to choose our parents or where we live. God and other people determine those things. But if we’re fortunate enough and if we’re blessed enough to live in a place like Conway with a school district like the Conway Public School System, we have great opportunities before us," he said. "Thank you for this award. This is the highest honor I have ever received and I will cherish it for the rest of my life."

Ray Simon, Conway native and former United States Deputy Secretary of Education, was honored as this year’s Friend of the District. Simon’s career has included time as CPS assistant superintendent and then CPS superintendent from 1991 to 1997. Raymond and Phyllis Simon Intermediate School is named for Ray and his wife Phyllis.

While he said he was thankful to be honored in the Hall of Honor this inaugural year, he said it was important to honor those who have dedicated their lives to the classroom, such as the third Hall of Honor honoree, Distinguished Educator A.C. Anderson.

"Teaching is not always a profession of instant gratification," Simon said. "Many teachers, like Mr. Anderson, will not be appreciated in their lifetimes, but in the lifetimes of the students whose futures they changed."

Anderson taught in the Conway School District from 1963 until his retirement in 1991. He died in Memphis, Tenn., in 2008 and his son Mike Anderson accepted the Distinguished Educator award on his behalf.

"If he were here he would probably say this is much to do about nothing and he was just doing his job," Mike Anderson said of his father. "But he loved this school. He lived for this school and enjoyed it everyday."

The Conway Public Schools Foundation’s mission is to "partner with teachers to enrich the learning environment for students by funding innovative programs and resources that stimulate creativity, promote excellence and enable life-long learning." Proceeds from the Hall of Honor banquet went to support that mission.

The CPSF is also in the midst of a fundraising initiative called "Building the Foundation," a $1 million capital campaign. More information on the CPSF can be found at www.cpsfoundation.com.

(Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached by email at angela.spencer@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1212. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)