D. Ray Hill says he grew up in a small vicinity about three hours south of Atlanta whose declare to repute is its title as the Peanut Capital of the World.
That’s no longer true.
He grew up within the again seat of a brown 1976 Caprice Classic.
Each 12 months, Hill’s own family — dad Frank, mom Frankie, Hill and his dual sister Fay — piled into that Caprice Classic for another adventure. The global awaited them.
Frank became a truck driving force with most effective an 8th-grade schooling. Frankie made it thru 11th grade. “But they had been smarter than what everyone figured,” Hill stated Thursday morning. “It turned into simply the times that they grew up in.”
Frank wanted Ray and Fay to look what he noticed — a world plenty grander than their place of birth of Sylvester, Ga., a world of beauty and sites and wild variations. Today, D. Ray Hill is the brand new superintendent of Anniston City Schools, in which lessons began this week.
“I’m not going to say my dad and mom have been poor, however I can inform you that I don’t suppose we have been wealthy,” Hill stated, giggling. “But we did things. My dad and mom stretched. We were given inside the car, we packed sandwiches, we drove to one-of-a-kind locations, we took holidays out of nation. It’s stuff like that, that’s how we divulge our children.”
Fueled by means of gasoline and home made sandwiches and truck-forestall visits, Frank and Frankie took the twins anywhere roads would move. The options were endless. And, “I’ll never forget (that Caprice Classic) because that changed into my vehicle in excessive faculty,” Hill stated. He laughed, once more. “I recollect having an 8-music tape player in there due to the fact my dad loved track.”
They drove to nearby locations like Florida. But they also traveled to faraway web sites Frank saw whilst using his rig. And they by no means flew. Distances didn’t be counted.
They drove to Mexico.
They drove to the Grand Canyon.
They drove to the Hoover Dam.
The drove to the Petrified Forest National Park.
They drove to look the redwood forests in California.
After Ray and Fay left for college, Frank and Frankie took their youngest son, Robby, to Alaska.
That’s proper, they drove from Sylvester, Ga., to Alaska. And returned. That’s kind of 8,000 miles, round trip.
The quantity of time the Hill children spent in the back seat of that brown 1976 Caprice Classic is extraordinary.
“I don’t forget they might wake us up and say, ‘Hey, whats up, good day, let us show you all this — look, look, appearance,’” Hill said. They offered a blanket on one among their journeys; Frank and Frankie saved it for decades. Hill, then a toddler, bought a sombrero while in Mexico; Frank and Frankie didn’t discard it until some years in the past.
The recollections — the education of a teen’s mind — haven’t dwindled.
“It showed me there was a lot extra out there than I changed into aware of seeing each day,” Hill stated. “Think about it.
“It’s access. If our kids don’t see anything but the borderlines of Anniston, what do they have?”
If you need to realize whatever approximately the man now piloting Anniston’s often-criticized schools, that is it.
Yes, he values transparency and openness and civic partnerships and empowering his principals and teachers. He isn’t a non-traditionalist. He desires more algebra and foreign-language classes. He desires to add a violin application to the essential colleges. He wants to ramp up the machine’s work-schooling packages for college kids hungry for paychecks. He desires to revive the high school’s drama software.
He sees possibilities whilst acknowledging the roadblocks — Anniston’s poverty, Anniston’s racial divisions, even the concerns approximately the system’s financial balance. If you take care of Anniston and its college students, pray that the metropolis’s political headaches don’t beat him down.
But it’s studies and possibilities, instructions that transcend and remodel, that he resolutely values. He’s never a ways from the returned seat of that Caprice Classic. He recollects that his mother and father “simply desired us to be exposed” to the sector, to look what’s there and what’s feasible.
Years ago, as important at North Clayton High School in Georgia, he helped arrange a journey for 35 or so students to wait Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.
You can consider him these days climbing into an Anniston City Schools bus, filling it with students and taking them on their personal adventures, adventures fueled by means of economic partnerships from a commercial enterprise network reinvested in Anniston’s schools. An schooling for existence to go with an education from the classroom.
“Exposure is my biggest thing for our youngsters,” he stated. “I even have so many things I need to do.”