Glenda K. Farrell
ALUMNA OF THE YEAR AWARD
29th Annual All School Reunion ~ October 2015
~ GLENDA KAYE MURRAY FARRELL ‘69 ~ “COMING FULL- CIRCLE - GIVING BACK TO BOGGS”
Attending Boggs was a wonderful experience for me. I am so thankful to my family for offering it as an option for continuing my education. Leaving my hometown of Chester, Pennsylvania (Suburban Philadelphia, where MLK attended seminary school, and was mentored by my childhood pastor, J. Pius Barbour of Calvary Baptist Church) to travel such a distance to Keysville, Georgia, did not seem to be a great idea at the time. But, there was an eagerness in the back of my head to join the educational ranks of my mother’s family. She, along with my six aunts, and cousins, were always telling great stories about the wonderful time they spent at Gillespie Selden Institute, and Boggs Academy.
Entering Boggs the fall of 1966, I had settled in by winter. I met and enjoyed many new friends and had gotten to know the environment, instructors and the many other offerings. After a few months, I loved it! I think what I liked most was learning to socialize with a diverse group from all over the nation as well as from other countries. Ethical values and academics of course, were the highest priority at Boggs...Later, I would learn that these contests, competitions, and challenges, along with hard work, were a part of what made so many of us driven, capable and successful adults after leaving Boggs.
Upon graduation, in 1969, I returned home with the intention to pursue college, but within two weeks I was offered a career in what we thought at the time, was a very prestigious insurance company – State Farm Insurance. It had been the “premier insurance company” of Pennsylvania. I would have to work my way up, but enjoyed it and started as a superb secretarial/claims clerk...as my Boggs stenography teacher, (Ms. Jewel Marshall) had taught me well...maybe too well! After a few years, I found not only was I doing my work, but I was also doing a huge chunk of the tasks of the lawyers and claims personnel as well. Although I had received many awards, seminar trainings, promotions and citations for my work, after a while, there was simply no challenge...I knew I had to attend college sooner, rather than later...
I received my BA in Education in 1976 from Cheney University of Pennsylvania, the oldest HBCU in the country. I began my teaching career in the Bridgeton Education School District, Bridgeton, New Jersey while pursuing a Masters of Education at Rowan University, Glassboro New Jersey. Teaching was not only my profession, but also my passion. This devotion was duly recognized and rewarded by my colleagues, the parents of my students and the community. It was especially reflected through the parents who requested me as teacher for their children, and the numerous awards I received during that period, including the title of “Teacher of The Year”. . . Many of my former students remain in contact with me to this day...
Boggs Academy gave me that initial spark but it became clear that I had to blaze the trail myself. In 2002 my mother transitioned. As an only daughter, I missed her as well as the care-taking duties that had become a major part of my life for several years. Since both my daughters had graduated college by then, I jumped at the chance when one of my teaching colleagues told me she thought it would do me well to work part-time in professional sports...As I thought about it, I remembered this quote I had read somewhere and it always stuck with me...“A lifetime isn't forever, so take the first chance, don't wait for the second one! Because sometimes, there aren't second chances!” Little did I know, I actually became a professional sports enthusiast, when I started as a stadium/suite hostess for the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles. It was such fun! It was also the perfect place to invite my friends. My classmate, Gwendolyn Stackhouse Allen and other Boggsites living in the area or those coming in for short visits would come to see me and enjoy an evening out at the new Citizens Bank Park. I‘d also see my students and their parents at the evening games ...and it made for great conversation at school the next day.
During this period, I continued to serve my community, and work with youth within our church. I taught summer theater, Vacation Bible School (VBS), was the first children’s church teacher at Union Temple Church, Bridgeton N. J. Ten years later, while a member of Grace Temple Baptist Church...I created and developed a “New Members” event called “The Annual Tea” which was exclusively for new and potential church members, so they would get to know and connect with people and programs within our church. I also worked with others to start a scholarship program for our youth.
By 2007, the end of my career teaching career, I had become a master teacher and a member of numerous local, county and national educational associations for change... Bridgeton City, Washington Township, Cumberland County, and Gloucester County. The National Associations were: The National Education Association, Council for Exceptional Children, and the Kappa Delta Pi- International Honor Society of Education. After a 30 year career, I retired and moved across country to a warmer climate, Henderson, Nevada...suburban, Las Vegas, where I enjoyed working for the beverage department of Caesars Palace Resort and Hotel. There I worked with ladies from all over the world; of every background and ethnicity...and because of my early beginnings at Boggs; dealing with diversity was certainly not an obstacle...different people, diverse ideas –a great deal of variety.
Six years later, in 2014, I retired from the hotel industry of Nevada. I have continuously supported political and community activities, and contributed to foreign missions, RBC Ministries (Radio Bible Class), Remnants Ministry of Las Vegas, and to veterans ( in honor of my late brother, Warren, who served in Vietnam). For the past three primary elections I have participated in voter registration drives, worked in various positions at the polls as well as canvassing the community, posting flyers and doing any other election services that might be needed. This is my current passion.
Although, as many of you know, I have spent the past 9 years also supporting the great legacy of Boggs Academy in various positions: They include - Five years of chairing and guiding the Scholarship Program to and through the process of making its first four awards; Establishing, alongside the late Lennis Smith Wyatt’69, the Resolution/Courtesy Program; Guiding the development and birth of the Boggs Museum; Developing and assisting in the operation of a first-time Boggs-Burke County Students Mentorship Program; and we are currently putting forth the idea of offering discounted 3- 5 year BANAA memberships, which will ultimately save members time and money. And, as we move forward, I will continue seeking the good, better and best of what lies ahead. Although in 2014, I was appointed to the presidency of the BANAA, in my spare time I create and sell jewelry, and enjoy touring historical USA, reading biographies and writing, as I spend time with my 14 months old grandbaby, whenever time permits. However, I still consider my greatest accomplishments to be my two adult children...Misty, who is a director at an engineering firm , mother and wife, residing in Arlington, Massachusetts, and Deenah, who is a medical student at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota...
I leave you with one word: G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E. I am grateful for the multi-dimensional education I received from attending Boggs. It started the preparation for my life’s work and contributions. I am happy to have continued to be an active member of the Boggs Academy National Alumni Association.... It is a pleasure and honor for me to continue doing what I have done for my whole life...volunteer, lead, serve, collaborate and support!!! ...“A lifetime isn't forever, so take the first chance, don't wait for the second one... Because, sometimes, there aren't second chances!”