Morris Busby: Dedicated educator, family man and spiritual leader

Editors note: The following Cameo of Minden was originally published on March 31, 2004.

Just to talk to him lets you know just how much he is interested in education, and in Minden High School. I started out by telling him I would like to do a Cameo on him if he would promise me he would not accept the Superintendent’s job in a nearby parish. He got a laugh out of that, but he didn’t make a promise.

There are “first” in his life that make him special to Minden. He said he was the first in his family to go on and receive not only a first degree but a Masters Degree from college. His parents are so proud of this man. The next “first” would be he is the first Minden High School graduate to return to be principal of Minden High School.

He is a native of Minden, born in 1956, attended Stewart Elementary School, Lowe Jr. High School, and graduated from Minden High School in 1975.

Due to illness he was unable to attend school regularly in the first grade and it was decided that he would be better off repeating the first grade. Mrs. Gay Jones was his teacher both years. He resolved in his heart that he would finish college at the same time those he had begun first grade with. That meant that he would have to take a heavy load of hours each semester in college.He attended Northwestern State University, and graduated in December of 1978 with a degree in Social Studies Education and a minor in Mathematics. And so he fulfilled the promise he had made to himself that he would finish on time.

He continued his education at La. Tech University, receiving his Masters Degree in History and his Plus 30 in Administration in 1986.

In The Classroom

Meanwhile from, l978 until 1980, he worked as manager of Bonanza Steak House here in Minden. But in 1980 he went to Shongaloo to teach Math. This community was proud of its school and the young people reflected their parents interest in education. In 1991 he became principal of Shongaloo High School. He immediately began working toward securing a new school building for this area. The people were interested in backing his plans, and the tax proposal was passed. A new school plant was erected and he served as principal there for six years.

Of course, I am talking about Morris Busby who is our Cameo Personality for this week. He said that he had wonderful years at

Shongaloo, but the most touching thing about his stay there was the expressions of love and appreciation when he left Shongaloo to become principal of Minden High School in 1998.

Family Ties

Morris is part of a blended family. His father, Percy Busby, brought two daughters, Betty and Dorothy, into the marriage, and his mother, Artemis Busby, brought a daughter, Bessie. Together they had Morris and his sister, Kim. His parents were so proud that Morris was the first of their children to go to college and receive a degree. He said that in addition to his parents, others helped him and encouraged him in his studies. While at Minden High School he was encouraged by Sonny Taylor, West Moses and Carolyn Boyett.

In 1987 Morris married ConnieThompson whom he had met through a religious choir group that both sang in. It was composed of young people from several churches. Today Connie is principal of Harper Elementary School here. They are the parents of Ashleigh, l6, and Bethany, 14. Ashleigh is a Sophomore at Minden High School and Bethany is a Freshman. He is so proud of these daughters who have never given their parents any trouble, but are dedicated Christian young ladies..

The family are active members of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church where Morris has just completed serving as Chairman of the Building Committee that supervised the construction of the beautiful new church plant at the intersection of Highway 531 and Homer Road. Morris has served as S. S. Superintendent, Deacon, and has worked with the Training Union, and has taught Sunday School Classes. He did not share this information with me, but members of his church did. He is part of a quartet that sings regularly in his church, and he also sings solos, and of course, he is a member of the choir.

Influence

Morris has served on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce. While in Shongaloohe served on the Leton Water Board, and the Evergreen Fire Department. His church activities keep him too busy to belong to many clubs.

We talked of the new high school building that is to be constructed as a result of the recent tax election that authorized that new structure. He has dreams of a school that excels in Academia. He would like to have a good athletic program, but would like the young people to be good students as well as good athletes. A well balanced program emphasizing both sports as well as encouraging academic achievements is his desire.

His influence is still felt in the Shongaloo area, and he is remembered for the wonderful job he did with the school. The beautiful new school building is a living monument to his efforts in that community. It was hard for a principal to follow Morris Busby in the Shongaloo school. People constantly referred to the many wonderful things that Morris had done for the school and the community. Morris has vivid memories about one incident while he was principal at Shongaloo.

Seeking Shelter

On April 4, 1997, at 4:52 P. M. he was working at the school. It was a Friday afternoon and everyone had gone home. A tornado came through the community and the school was in its path. When Morris realized what was happening he sought shelter under his desk. He’s a big man, and that desk only offered partial shelter, but he was uninjured. He said even though the roof was torn off and there were other damages, his desk was untouched, and neither was he hurt. He said that they worked all through the weekend to get the school ready to open on Monday, and on Monday morning school was held as usual. This is just another of life’s miracles, and we can see the hand of God protecting Morris.

Now Morris is again having the opportunity to be a part of another new building program here in Minden. Even though he has a degree in History, and a Masters Degree in History there has never been an opportunity for him to teach history
A ‘Clone’

Becky Anderson, who is a School Secretary in the office there at Minden High School, told me that Morris has to have been “cloned” because she cannot see how he manages to make all the meetings, and the places that he has to be at almost the same time — and yet he is there, meeting with students, with parents, with school organizations, School Board meetings, athletic events, and on and on – the list is endless. It is a good thing that he is a young man so that he can physically hold up under all these requirements.

Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.

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