Class of 1965 pays tribute

Class of 1965 pays tribute By Michelle Rydell "When we were young and green, you tried to bend us in the right direction. Now that we are old and bent, we look at the path you lit and say, 'Thank you, Mr. Manley, for helping us set our course. You made a difference'."

It is with fond remembrance that the class of 1965 dedicates these words for former Vermillion High School principal, Clifford Manley. Manley was not simply an authoritative figure � he was a friend to all students. VHS alumni remember him as someone with a firm hand yet a soft heart. According to former students, he had a sense of humor that shone through even when he had to be firm with one of his students. He was very personable with both his peers and those under him.

According to one class member, "Mr. Manley loved all of his students. Of course, there was still a degree of fear when we had to go to the principal's office. But he loved kids � he was a great man."

They also remember him as someone who was always present for extra-curricular activities and who loved watching sports. A former coach himself, Manley made it an objective to support not only the school but his students as well. It is perhaps for this dedication that he is most well-known.

As principal, Manley did everything from teaching to coaching, and most importantly, serving as a mentor and role model for his students.

Manley's service and dedication is the reason the class of 1965 (which, incidentally, was the last class to graduate from the old Vermillion High School) has dedicated a plaque in remembrance of his gracious spirit. The plaque, featuring a picture of Manley set against a picture of the old high school and decorated with red birds to signify the class's ever-present Tanager pride, will be hung in the high school in the coming month.

The plaque had recently been hanging in the Sioux Valley Dakota Gardens, where Manley's wife Helen now lives. The plaque was displayed at the Dakota Gardens in order that Helen's children and friends might get the opportunity to see it during Christmas, but now that the holidays are over Helen is giving the plaque to the high school to display.

The plaque will stay in the school as a lasting tribute to the man who not only taught his students as a biology teacher and principal, but a man who inspired them on a personal level as well.

VHS students will be some of the first people to see the plaque. The plaque is designated to be revealed at the class of 1965's 40th reunion, which will be occurring this coming summer. The reunion, therefore, will not only be a time of fellowship for former students to rediscover their classmates, but it will also be a time for students to remember the principal who had such an impact on so many students' lives and take a moment to reflect on their appreciation for his service.

It is hard to find those special people in life who make such an impression that after 40 years they are still considered memorable and special. Yet many agree that Manley was such a person. His dedication to Vermillion High School has been remembered and appreciated throughout the decades, and despite the fact that he has since passed away, he is not forgotten.

His works live on through the school and through the lives of the many he has touched.

It's not always easy to be a disciplinarian and friend, yet Manley managed to do both. As a result, he is remembered not only as a loving husband, father and grandfather, but also as a beloved principal, mentor and friend.

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