Remembering Ed Farnell

Published 3:04 pm Monday, May 20, 2024

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One of the most unforgettable men in my life has to be E. N. Farnell, the principal of Williamston High School. Mr. Farnell had a wealth of knowledge about administration, especially on the high school level.

Mr. Farnell had a way of running a school that was unique. He was from the old school of administration in that he was an MP in WW II and applied that experience to running a high school.

He was ahead of time in many respects. He got Dink Mills and me to build an amphitheater in the woods behind the school. He hired Dr. Allen Osborne to be the theatrical director for both the high school and the community schools. He didn’t care that athletics and education competed; in fact, he encouraged it.

He was there a year before he ever spoke to me, except for asking me to put two weeks of lesson plans on his desk by Monday morning. I spent all weekend doing lesson plans. He knew that I didn’t use lesson plans.

I went to Mr. Farnell’s office one day to ask him if I could go with Coach Mills baseball team to Hickory to defend the State Championship in 1976. Mr. Farnell’s reply was, sure, as soon I turned in my grades I could go! Three lady teachers and myself got them ready. He knew that I would not! He was always planning ahead

Students from as far back as John Roberson would tell you he ran a good school. He was honest, loyal and showed no partiality to his students. In fact, he was more partial to a poor kid than he was to a rich kid. Mr. Farnell ran a good school. He told me I would get the job as football coach and athletic director in 1979 and for me to prepare my resume. He told me I had one year to fall on my face or be successful! I guess I did ok.

Mr. Ed Farnell ran an impressive school with a good, fair and firm hand. I was proud to serve under him for the six years I did and he taught me a lot. If I could get to be a principal, I would run my school like E.N. Farnell ran Williamston High School! He set such a great example for many.

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.! The Original Washington!

Harold Jr.