BUFORD — The end of the school year is always a little bittersweet. While everyone looks forward to summer vacation — students and teachers alike — there’s also the knowledge of not seeing each other for a couple of months.
That feeling is even more profound for teachers who know the coming weeks are their last. There are a couple of those in the Buford City Schools system feeling that way these days, a couple of men who have put in more than 60 years combined in the education field.
When school ends this month, Buford will say goodbye to a pair of stalwarts in the health and physical education departments. Dicky May, well respected defensive coordinator at the high school and a P.E. teacher, is calling it quits, as is Gary McCroskey, who teaches health and P.E. at Buford Middle School.
“Gary McCrosky and Dicky May have touched literally thousands of lives over their many years in education,” Buford High School Principal Banks Bitterman said. “There is no telling how many students have become successful adults because of their significant impact in their life. The Buford community loves and cherishes both of these men and their retirement will truly be felt at Buford High School and Buford Middle School.”
May has longtime ties to Gwinnett. He is a 1978 Central Gwinnett High graduate who coached at his alma mater for 13 years as well as Dacula (eight years) and Brookwood before coming to Buford in 2005. He has been part of six state championship football teams at Buford, earning a reputation as a top-notch defensive coordinator.
After 31 years of teaching, he said it’s the interaction with the students he’ll miss most.
“I’m going to miss the kids. I’ve been blessed at every school I’ve been at to have great kids whether they played sports or not, and that’s what makes you stay,” said May, who has taught weightlifting at Buford. “I’ve been at some great places in my career, and to have the chance to work at Buford and to work with (head coach) Jess Simpson and (athletic director) Dexter Wood and all the rest of the people I’ve worked with has been a great opportunity.
“But 31 years is a long time. It’s time to let some of the young guys do it now.”
McCrosky has been at Buford for nine years. The Flowery Branch resident has taught for 33 years total, and has served in various coaching roles while at Buford, including in the wrestling program and starting the rifle team. Though he’s looking forward to retirement, he said it will be tough to leave such a close-knit community.
“It’s a Catch-22,” McCrosky said. “I will miss the kids, faculty, and coaches, yet I’m looking forward to moving on with my life and doing some hobbies.
“The administration, coaches and faculty have been so good to me and my family, I cannot thank them enough for all the support and love they have showed to me and my family during my tenure here.
“I will also miss our FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), watching our kids lead and develop skills that truly matter is so impressive. Buford is truly a very unique environment, full of kids who understand the Buford Way.”
Email Todd Cline at email@example.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.