DECATUR – Theresa Bowser was principal at Muffley School for 12 years, and one of her dreams was to replace the rusty old flagpole and tattered flag with new ones, but the money was never there.
After Bowser left for a new position as director of human resources for the Decatur School District last summer, new Principal Carrie Hogue, her staff and the students applied themselves to raising the funds to fulfill Bowser's wish.
“It was very important to her,” Hogue said. “It was rusty, and it wasn't in great shape and it needed replaced. When she announced that she had accepted the new position, the staff, students, Scouts and Booster Club got together and raised enough money to replace it.”
Bowser had a seat of honor where she could watch the entire ceremony May 13. The Macon County Honor Guard brought a bugler to play taps as the old flag was carefully lowered and folded. The new flag was hung and raised to the tune of “To the Colors,” and the honor guard fired a three-volley salute.
The kindergartners sang “One Small Voice,” which moved Bowser, seated where she was surrounded by little ones, to tears. A plaque at the base of the flagpole bears Bowser's name and the dedication in her honor. During the ceremony, students Mentor Ballazhi and Michael Pundt escorted her forward to unveil the plaque.
“We've needed that for a long time,” Bowser said after the solemn ceremony concluded.
She was welcomed back to her old stomping grounds with an abundance of hugs from students who surrounded her as soon as she appeared.
“This is the best part of the job,” she said, hugging as many as she could at the same time. “This is what every day was like, constant hugs, even when I had to discipline them. They knew I was doing it because that was best for them, didn't you?” she said to a child waiting her turn for a hug.