Coach turned principal honored by friends

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

For Darren Parker’s many years of dedication to coaching Franklin High School football, his friends Waverly and Carolyn Lawrence honored him with a trophy of appreciation. The brief ceremony took place on Tuesday evening at the gymnasium in J.P. King Jr. Middle School. That is where Parker is now principal.

The Lawrences were already there to coach intramural basketball games with students from both J.P. King and S.P. Morton Elementary schools. She oversees health and physical education at the former.

Parker was there to watch the activities, seemingly unaware of what the Lawrences had in store. But he must have sensed something was going on when members of the Broncos showed up with their new coach, Karl Robertson. Parker went over to shake everyone’s hands.

“Wow!” was his reaction when called up before everyone in the gym.

After thanking them, Parker turned the attention to the couple.

“Nobody has changed more lives than Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence,” he said, adding that she was his mentor when he first arrived 22 years ago.

Parker thanked his wife, Weynette, for her support, calling her “a blessing,” and pointed out their child, Darren Parker Jr.

“I do it for my son,” he said.

The principal’s new responsibility precludes him from continued coaching, so that has been handed over to Robertson. Parker said he would help the coach and team whenever and wherever possible.

Following the honors, a handful of students were called to participate in a contest of scoring the most baskets in a minute. They were: Kaiden Putman, rising sixth grader; Ariana Picot, rising seventh grader; and Arbani Willis, rising eighth grader; Altavis Turner, rising sixth grader; Danny Desalegae, rising eighth grader; and Cameron Ridley, rising ninth grader. Putnam, Willis, Turner and Desalegae received trophies.