Like most Perry Hall residents, I was particularly pleased to read the news that Perry Hall High School Principal George Roberts was recognized as the "Fifth District Citizen of the Year" for 2012. Councilman David Marks couldn't have made a more appropriate and timely gesture to showcase this fine member of the Perry Hall community.
I first had the pleasure of meeting George Roberts shortly after his arrival as principal, back in 2008. Principal Roberts wasted no time in coming to meet with the board of directors for the Perry Hall Improvement Association, of which I was a member. Roberts shared with us the results of a detailed planning effort that he and staff from the high school had just completed. This document was the embodiment of his vision for where Perry Hall High School ought to go as the school and its students moved ahead into the future.
Principal Roberts indicated that the three key components of this plan—all of which were ultimately incorporated into the school's crest—were "tradition, pride, and excellence." He felt that it was essential for these three basic principles to become integral aspects of the lives of every person who was a part of the Perry Hall High School community.
Since 2008, it has been truly remarkable that, in contrast to so many other strategic plans that end up collecting dust on a shelf somewhere, the plan set forth by George Roberts and his team has actually come to fruition. Hardly a year later, in June 2009, I was thrilled to be a part of a presentation that helped to bolster an important tradition associated with Perry Hall High School. Historic Perry Hall Mansion, Inc. offered to donate an oil painting, depicting the original Perry Hall Mansion, for display at the school. Principal Roberts warmly embraced this gift, and made sure that this painting was prominently displayed in the school's media center, where it hangs to this day.
Other acts by Roberts have also helped to strengthen the ties between the high school and our community's namesake first residence. The crest of Perry Hall's first family, Harry Dorsey and Prudence Gough, once again can be seen throughout the school. This crest now appears on both the changeable copy sign in front of the school, as well as above the door as one enters the building. Thanks to efforts like these, students of the school now have a better sense as to why this crest appears on their class rings.
After this school year, George Roberts will now always be known as the firm and steady presence that helped to lead Perry Hall High School through perhaps what has been its darkest day. The August 27th school shooting incident was something that none of us ever expected might happen here. Thanks to Roberts and his unique set of attributes, the school and the Perry Hall community more generally have been slowly able to move beyond this horrible experience.
While what happened in August, and the leadership shown by Principal Roberts that day will be an important part of his legacy, we should never forget the less visible contributions that he has made each and every day since his arrival in 2008. Perry Hall is truly lucky to have a person like George Roberts at the helm of one of the most important parts of our community.