Special guest: Larry Mahaffey (center) spoke to the Rotary Club of Chilton County on Feb. 13. He is pictured with club member Steve Yeargan (left) and club President Bill Evans.
Special guest: Larry Mahaffey (center) spoke to the Rotary Club of Chilton County on Feb. 13. He is pictured with club member Steve Yeargan (left) and club President Bill Evans.

Archived Story

Former CCHS principal speaks to Rotary club

Published 10:44pm Thursday, February 14, 2013

As one of the first black students at Chilton County High School before Alabama schools were officially integrated, Larry Mahaffey has a unique perspective on Black History Month, which is celebrated each February.

Mahaffey spoke to the Rotary Club of Chilton County about that perspective at the group’s meeting Wednesday, but the man who served as principal of the school he helped integrate spoke more about his faith.

“It’s impossible for me to get up and talk to you without talking about the role God has played in my life,” Mahaffey said to club members at their regular meeting at Clara’s Country Cafe. “My environment didn’t limit God’s plan for me and my mindset. I had to learn how to forgive, and that’s when the blessings started.”

Mahaffey told a story about when he was first named CCHS principal. He worked so hard before the first day of school that he made himself sick.

He woke up on a Sunday morning not wanting to leave the bed. Even a friend told him he should stay home and get some rest. But Mahaffey remembered his mother’s weekly insistence that he attend church, so he got up and went.

Mahaffey awoke in a hospital, not knowing how he had gotten there. A doctor told him that going to church had saved his life because had he stayed in bed he could have died from severe dehydration.

Mahaffey said he approached his job as principal with wisdom imparted by Frederick Douglas: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Mahaffey left CCHS in 2008 and now helps with admissions and other areas at the local Jefferson State Community College campus, which started in an old car dealership building with about 60 students and now has more than 600 students in a state-of-the-art facility.

“I’m the happiest person in the world,” he said. “I have a lot to be thankful for.”

Print Friendly

Editor's Picks

Off-duty officer at right place, right time to help arrest armed robber

Thorsby Police officer Gaines Silas saw someone fleeing from the Dollar General off Seventh Street South in Clanton shortly before 9 p.m., and the off-duty ... Read more

Verbena football title trophy found, to be returned to school

“We’re excited about getting that trophy back to the school," Verbena Principal Kelvin Boulware said. Read more

Fair may have found a temporary home at Clanton City Park

Fair organizers moved the event away from its long-time location when it became a safety hazard for the adjacent Chilton County Airport. Read more