Aiken High dedicates hallways to former educators

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May 18—Former educators were honored Wednesday during a ceremony at Aiken High School.

During the second Hallways of Fame ceremony, former Aiken High educators Joseph Laorenza and Joe Wilson were honored with hallways dedicated to their memories.

Laorenza was a music teacher and band director at the school as well as a professional jazz musician.

Wilson taught agriculture and was a lifelong member of the Future Farmers of America.

Both men served in the U.S. Air Force.

"The purpose of today's event is to celebrate two men who dedicated their time and services and left their legacy here at Aiken High," said Assistant Principal George Pope.

Special guest speaker, Judge Courtney Clyburn Pope, shared her thoughts on what it means to be a leader.

"What is a leader? A leader as defined in the dictionary is someone who leads or commands a group, or organization, or even a country," she said. "However, we know that a leader is also someone who inspires passion, someone who motivates. A leader is someone who ensures that their team, or their followers, or their students have the support and the tools that they need in order to be successful."

Family members of the honorees were in attendance, and had a chance to share a few words of their own. AnneMarie Laorenza, daughter of Joseph Laorenza, spoke about her father's passion for music.

"Having his name dedicated to a hallway would mean so much to him, to be a permanent part of the place he brought his passion to," she said. "My father believed music taught about life. It required discipline, focus and the ability to express yourself in a way everyone can understand. All prevalent in music, all necessary for life. We miss him every day, but his soul lives on."

Wilson's granddaughter Hannah Adkison, also shared her thoughts.

"Your Mr. Wilson is my Pops," she said. "We watched Pops do what he was called to do. To teach, to lead and to mentor his students. He believed that exposure, hard work, commitment and a helping hand were the keys to a lifetime of growing and nurturing just about anything. He was exceptional at growing just about any plant, but he also grew and nurtured a beautiful life around him."

At the conclusion of the program, the hallways dedicated to both men were unveiled and both families received a hallway tour.