Vidalia grad will leave behind more than VHS

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2005

VIDALIA &045;&045; When Ken Johnson walks across the Vidalia High School stage to pick up his diploma Friday night, more than his immediate family will shed a few tears of joy.

Yes, all of his family will be there.

So will the four ladies that Johnson calls his adopted &uot;mothers.&uot;

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Three of them will be there in person, the other in spirit.

Over the past year Concordia Parish Schools Superintendent Kerry Laster, Superintendent’s Secretary Lynda Cantu, Personnel Director Ann Sandidge and school board secretary Jackie Connor have taken Johnson under their wing as one of the school board’s cooperative office education workers.

When he first entered the doors of the school board office, Johnson didn’t know what to expect. Neither did the school board office personnel.

&uot;He is the first male COE officer that we have had,&uot; Connor said.

Not that having a male worker would make much of difference. But for both Johnson and the school board office, the situation would be a learning experience.

&uot;Our little world had been invaded by this male,&uot; Cantu said.

But it didn’t take long for Johnson to appreciate his new found extended family.

&uot;They have all been like mothers to me,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;In fact, I call Mrs. Sandidge ‘Mama Sandidge’ sometimes.&uot;

In the year Johnson has been working for the school board office, he has spent most of the time answering phones, filing paperwork and doing other general office work.

But Johnson has not been content to do just what he is asked. In many instances he has gone over and above what is expected of him.

&uot;He is an all-around person. He does a lot for the school,&uot; Connor said. &uot;Somebody’s always calling on him to do things.&uot;

Whether it is in his schoolwork, on the playing field or in the many other things he does around the community, Johnson does his job things with the utmost professionalism.

Ask any of the four ladies Johnson works with.

&uot;He is going to take over my job,&uot; Laster said jokingly. &uot;He does everything we ask and then some. He’s a jewel.&uot;

&uot;This man is nothing but class,&uot; Sandidge said as the other three nodded their heads in agreement.