News By: Yahoo New – Live Sports News Channel
DALEVILLE — As a member of a committee that interviewed Ron Gibson for a fifth-grade teaching position at Daleville Elementary School, David Hubble wrote a single word of evaluation when the interview ended.
It was an adjective that Hubble and others in the Daleville community used as they described their memories of Gibson, 62, who died Tuesday of a heart attack.
“He made such an impact on everyone that he came in contact with,” Hubble said. “He had a way of making everyone feel like they were on the same level. He had that way of taking kids under his wing.”
Gibson served as a fifth and sixth-grade teacher at Daleville Elementary until his retirement last year. He also coached the sixth-grade girl’s basketball team and, in that role, was able to continue using what colleagues referred to as a natural giftedness for motivating students to treat others with kindness.
“He was one of the most genuine, compassionate people I’ve ever met, and he poured that into these kids,” said Brittney Garrett, a fellow sixth-grade teacher who shared many students with Gibson. “Those that needed that love the most, he gave that to them as well.”
Gibson spent six years teaching fifth and sixth grade at Daleville. Prior to that, he taught and coached cross country and girls’ basketball at Alexandria for eight years.
News of Gibson’s passing shook many members of the team and other students, who returned to school from their winter break Tuesday. Grief counselors from Meridian Health Services were at the school Wednesday, and the pastor of a local church that meets at the high school offered assistance as well.
Garrett said she has several members of the girls’ basketball team in various classes throughout the day. On Wednesday, she said, the girls appeared to be in different stages of processing their grief.
“We have girls who have this look of shock on their face, and maybe they haven’t really cried yet,” she said. “This is hitting them very hard.”
Team members gathered on the stage in the school gymnasium Wednesday morning to grieve and “share some of their memorable stories” about Gibson, principal Jason Rees said. Others busied themselves making cards and notes of remembrance for Gibson’s family.
The team plans to play its season-opening game next week as scheduled.
“There’s been no talk of canceling any games,” Rees said. “Ron would say, play those games. Those girls need to get out there and play.”
Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight or call 765-640-4809.