By June Mathews
Former Clay Elementary School principal, Dr. Roy Hornsby, was recently presented with a china Christmas ornament commissioned by the Clay Historical Society. The limited edition is fifth in a series of ornaments depicting historical sites throughout the city and sold to benefit the society.
“I am honored to receive this, and I appreciate it so much,” Hornsby said.
Presented by current principal, Dr. Sharon Gallant, the ornament depicts the old clapboard structure that housed the school when Hornsby was hired in 1972. The brief ceremony took place in the lobby of today’s Clay Elementary, a building project that came to fruition during Hornsby’s tenure there.
“When I first came to Clay Elementary, Revis Hall, the superintendent of Jefferson County’s schools at the time, told me it was my honeymoon year, which was a good time to ask for whatever I wanted,’” Hornsby recalled. “He told me to figure out everything I needed and make a list, so I did. The first thing on my list was a new building.”
And as it turned out, thinking big paid off.
“Six years later, we moved into our new school,” Hornsby said.
Retired for 22 years now, Hornsby remains a beloved friend and mentor to many in the Clay schools community, including Gallant. Hornsby hired Gallant for her first teaching job over 30 years ago and has served as an exemplary source of encouragement ever since.
Thus did Gallant feel as privileged to present the ornament as Hornsby felt honored to receive it.
“I think it’s so important to never forget who we were back then and to always remember that sense of what Clay has been,” she said.