Farewell Mr. White

Mr. White served for five years as vice principal of Andrews Academy from 2002–2007 under Mr. Chase, the principal, and during the past four years as principal. When he arrived on campus in the fall of 1976, Mr. White taught Algebra I, Algebra II, introduction to algebra, geometry and chemistry to students at AA. Although many students find mathematics and chemistry beyond their ken, Mr. White has always been accessible for a word of encouragement and help with a problem.

In fact, his help sessions conducted every Wednesday evening at the “White House” have lifted the veil on the mysteries of these challenging subjects. As if his work in the classroom and help sessions at his home were not enough, Mr. White was known to interrupt his responsibilities as principal to explain congruent triangles or how to apply the Pythagorean Theorem to a mystified scholar.

Neither students nor teachers at Andrews Academy wear uniforms, but it might be said that Mr. White did: On almost any given day, newcomers to the building could spot a man in a suit, wearing a necktie with an oversized Windsor knot tied somewhat higher than accepted GQ practice would allow. The piece de resistance to the White wear, however, was the White sneakers.

Mr. White’s self-sacrificing lifestyle, worthy of emulation though it is, has always been inimitable. He was demanding without being imperious, tireless without being tiresome, kind without being indulgent, and genuinely Christian without being unctuous.

In his math and chemistry classes, Mr. White instructed students, “Always show your ‘work,’” the flow of equations and factoring which show how the students derived the answer.

On one such occasion—perhaps the only occasion—Mr. White was less than calm. A senior who had still not mastered the intricacies of Algebra I was taking a unit test. This less-than-ambitious senior had received additional “help” from an outside source. He returned to Mr. White, handed him the paper, and was about to depart. Mr. White surveyed the nearly naked paper that only showed the answers.

His voice nearly screeched, “The work! You haven’t shown the work!” White’s instinct was correct: When asked to explain how he had derived the answers, the red-faced student was speechless and had to retake the test.

Mr. White made no exceptions in regard to this dictum, and he applied it to himself as well. He always showed his work, and the work showed the quality of the man. It will be difficult in the years ahead to imagine an Andrews Academy without the stamp his magnanimous spirit has left behind.

—Tom Baker