Posted: Monday, April 30th 2012 at 9:42pm
Candlelight vigil honors GHS principal Chris Mance
By Katie Crumley Access Insider
GAINESVILLE - Just three weeks shy of graduation, Gainesville High School students gathered Monday night not to celebrate the end of the school year, but to remember and to honor their beloved principal.
A candlelight vigil began at the high school's "rock" at 7:30 p.m. with members of the GHS community sharing fond memories of GHS Principal Chris Mance, who died Sunday at the age of 50 after a brief battle with esophageal cancer.
GHS Graduation Coach Antoine Whelchel spoke to those in attendance, saying Mance truly cared about a student's success--especially when it came to seeing them graduate.
"I made a promise to that man that I was going to make sure that I did my job to make sure all our youth who come through Gainesville High School are successful," said Whelchel.
He said Mance would want them to keep looking forward.
"We've got to keep stomping on," said Whelchel.
Donna Hall, parent of a recent Gainesville High graduate, said there was no question about where Mance's priorities were.
"I really believe his family was first and Gainesville High was a really close second," she said.
Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said said she spoke with Mance several times since his diagnosis six weeks ago, and she said he told her that he wanted the students to be able to be involved in his memorials.
"The students were important to him, his hometown of Rabun County was important to him---the students that he taught and the players that he coached-- and he wanted that to all be a part of this," said Dyer.
Funeral services for Mance are scheduled for Wednesday at the Gainesville High School gymnasium. The services will begin at 1 p.m. and students will be able to attend, said Dyer.
Gainesville High School and Gainesville Middle School will dismiss at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. All elementary schools will dismiss at their regular time, according to a release from the school system.
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