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Lindley Park Elementary School dedicated the school’s media center after Marie C. Boone, who taught fourth grade at the school for more than 30 years.    Megan Crotty/Randolph Hub

'The Miss Boone effect'

Megan Crotty

Randolph Hub


ASHEBORO – Some called her “Mom.” Some mentioned “The Miss Boone Effect” and bear hugs. Everyone agreed that Marie C. Boone was special.


On what would have been Boone’s 67th birthday on Saturday, Aug. 19, family, friends, former students and community members gathered at Lindley Park Elementary School to not only remember Boone, but to also dedicate and rename the school’s media center after Boone, who taught fourth grade at the school for more than 30 years and passed away in 2021.


Lindley Park Principal Nikia Domally welcomed all in attendance, who first gathered in the school’s multipurpose room.


“We are thrilled that this has finally come to fruition,” she said. “It has been some time in the making to be able to dedicate and name our media center after who we like to call, ‘A Lindley Legend.’ ”


Asheboro City Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Wendy Rich then spoke, remembering her early career as a math teacher.


“I was fortunate enough to observe Miss Boone in action,” she said. “In all of my 33 years, I have never seen a teacher that had such an impact on her students and other teachers. When you walked into her classroom, you felt The Miss Boone Effect. Students exuded a love of learning because she set that expectation.


“On behalf of [ACS Superintendent] Dr. [Aaron] Woody and the Asheboro City School System, I would like to express our deepest appreciation for her years of service in Asheboro City Schools, and to express our excitement to be able to have her legacy live on here.”


Four of Boone’s former students — Laurie Delk, Johnny Green, Centerra Harris and Brandunn Rush — shared memories of their beloved teacher.


Delk, who had Boone as her fourth-grade teacher, said Boone is one of the biggest influences in her life. She remembered Boone letting her do special projects, and even use the overhead and tracing machines.


“I felt so privileged to do that,” Delk said. “For a young girl who didn’t have a lot of confidence in herself, Miss Boone taught me to be independent, to be confident, to walk as a young lady, to have pride in who I was, and that’s lived with me all of these years and has developed me into the woman I am today. I don’t know how I got to be so lucky to be the recipient of such love and care from Miss Boone — just the most incredible influence and the best hugs in the world."


Green said when he walked into school in 1985, one of the first teachers he saw was Boone, who asked him his name and how he was doing.


“Miss Boone, who I called ‘Momma,’ she took me under her wing,” he said. “Every day, she’d ask me, ‘How are you doing? Do you need anything?’ Because she knew, financially, where I was coming from, and she knew that I didn't have everything that everybody else had.”


Boone even bought Green underwear for those days when he walked to school in bad weather so he would have a dry pair when he got to school.


“You couldn't get a better person as far as a teacher, individual, mentor, whatever — teaching was her calling,” he said. “She was one of the few to actually adapt to your child's learning disability. She could individually adjust to make sure that that child is getting the proper learning. And you can't beat teachers like that.”


Harris, who works in education, remembered one of Boone’s favorite sayings, “Jesus keep me near the cross” when her students weren’t behaving — a saying Harris said she now understands and uses.


“Miss Boone and Miss [Linda] Isbell were monumental in my life,” she said. “That representation is important to have Black teachers, and, in my neighborhood, that was the status symbol. You’re going to school and you’re seeing people who look like you and, me being an educator going into my 20th year, it’s important to be able to honor her because of what she put in me. I would have never made it 20 years in education without her example, her guidance, her mentorship, her saying, ‘I’m proud of you,’ and me being able to hear that before she left this earth.”


Harris told the story of how Boone taught her the meaning of student-athlete. One day, Harris came to school without completing part of her homework. A future star athlete, Harris had challenged a classmate to a basketball game at recess, and she was confident she’d win. Boone wouldn’t hear of her not finishing her homework, so Harris finished her homework at recess.


“That day, I decided I needed to be a student first and an athlete second,” she said. “And two weeks ago, I just finished my fourth degree. I think about her a lot, and I channel her a lot. I definitely miss her and her mentorship and her influence.”


Rush, who was taught by Boone in fifth grade, said Boone loved everybody the same — and she played music the students liked.


“I was talking to my mom the other day about this special event, and she said, ‘You always loved Miss Boone,’ ” he said. “I remember, after that first week of school, she asked me, ‘What do you love about Miss Boone?’ And I said, ‘She makes it fun. Whenever I come in the class, she’s smiling. She opens her arms and hugs me.’ I’ll be the first to tell you that I was mediocre at best, but I excelled in her class because I loved her so much, and I enjoyed going to school every day and having fun.”


Fellow teachers Cindy Mullins and Isbell shared their memories of Boone, remembering gathering in Boone’s classroom to decompress after a long day. Mullins was mentored by Boone and Isbell, starting in 1999.


“Those ladies trained me to be the teacher I am,” she said. “They always had high standards for their students. And they loved their kids. That’s what I learned from working with them — you’ve got to love your kids, you’ve got to meet them where they are, and you’ve got to get them there. And when Marie started preaching to her classroom, we’d open up our doors and listen. She influenced all of us. Her colleagues were better teachers working with her. She would teach her students that, no matter where you come from, it’s where you’re going and that you can be anything you want to be. Every kid would step up and rise to that challenge.”


Isbell said when Boone started teaching at the school in 1978, the two became fast friends, preparing lessons together. And so much more.


“We practically did everything together,” Isbell said. “Marie was a great motivator and found ways to connect with her students and understand where they were coming from. One student said Miss Boone was like a second mother, and she was always ready to give encouraging words and bear hugs. She developed relationships with her students, and they received her patience and care. Students felt valued and were always willing to be her classroom helper.


“Marie’s life lessons were things we could all benefit from. She put God and faith first. She loved her family. She also loved her friends and her coworkers. She worked hard from morning and through night.”


Isbell told a story about students getting upset because their field day had been ruined because of rain.


“That was a short-lived rebellion,” Isbell said. “Her students learned soon enough that they did not control the classroom. She respected them and demanded respect in return.”


Boone’s daughter, Nicole Wolff, then announced the establishment of the Marie C. Boone Legacy Award, which will be given annually to a fifth-grade student or staff member who exudes and exemplifies the legacy that is Marie Boone.


“It will be given every year to a fifth-grade student or staff member that is a candle lighter,” Wolff said. “Like our mother, these individuals see the best in people, and work to not only ensure their own success, but also the success of others through teamwork, collaboration and sincere encouragement. In the face of adversity, they do not let their light dim. And they especially don’t shine a negative light on anyone around them. They always spark kindness in others. This kindness they show helps them through tough times. 


“We hope that the future recipients of this award will aways let their bright light shine, and they will work hard toward forging their own legacy of goodwill and service to others and their community.”


Boone’s husband, Harvey, then spoke.


“Everything that was said here today was absolutely fabulous, about my wife and her legacy and what she meant to so many people,” Harvey Boone said. “We’re honored. I can’t say enough. Thank you.”


Boone’s youngest daughter, Camille Green, then presented Domally with flowers for her help in making the event happen and thanked others who catered and performed music at the event.


After the ceremony, those in attendance met at the library doors where Domally unveiled a dedication plaque on the wall before opening the media center doors. There, attendees saw “The Marie C. Boone Legacy Library” printed on the wall, along with a quote, “All children can and will learn. We only have to believe.” Books donated in Boone’s name were displayed on tables, inspirational bookmarks were available, and former students and family gathered to tell stories and take pictures.


And, of course, share bear hugs.