By ZAC AL-KHATEEB
Home staff writer
SYLACAUGA – When Bill Friday graduated from Sylacauga High School in 1966, he never thought he’d see his name on the wall where he launched himself into the world.
That all changed Monday, when the Sylacauga City Schools Foundation honored the Friday family for decades of support to the city and school system. Friday, his father Dr. William Curtis Friday, and his grandfather William Curtis Friday were all honored with a plaque commemorating their contributions.
“You start to realize, as you get older, you’re not going to find a cure for cancer, you’re not going to go to the moon,” Friday said. “But still you’d like to think, after you’re gone from this earth, you’re still remembered around the campfire.”
Friday’s grandfather, an Auburn graduate, taught vocational agriculture in Clay and Coosa counties. Friday’s father graduated from Bibb Graves High School, eventually practicing medicine in Sylacauga, where it is estimated he delivered roughly 7,000 babies during his career.
Friday himself practiced internal medicine at Craddock Clinic from 1976 until to his retirement in 2006. Friday was also a member of the first board of directors for the foundation.
The Fridays’ plaque marks the 46th total since former superintendent Dr. Joe Morton created the foundation in 1988. Still, Morton said, this was by far the easiest plaque to raise money for. To be eligible to receive the plaque, members of the community need to raise $25,000 for the foundation.
“It was the easiest job I ever had,” Morton said. “No one said no. Everybody loves the Friday family. That’s just the way it is.”
Current superintendent Dr. Todd Freeman echoed Morton’s praise for the Friday legacy.
“If you look at the distinguished array of the wall, it’s quite impressive,” Freeman said. “I can’t think of any more noble a way to celebrate the life of someone who’s affected a place like Sylacauga.”
That money has gone to good use in the Sylacauga City Schools since the foundation’s inception. Since 1988, it has presented more than $1 million in grants, with $42,000 coming from 32 grants in the past school year alone.
That money has gone to purchasing books, computers, iPads and physical education equipment, all in the interest of giving Sylacauga City Schools a competitive educational advantage with the rest of the state.
“It’s a great honor, and I feel like it was such a worthy cause that I just couldn’t say no,” Friday said. “The belief in the power of education runs strong in my family.”