Lockhart seeking to honor late principal Martha Martin

mhankerson@newsobserver.comDecember 20, 2013 

Former Lockhart principal Martha Martin


— Martha Martin loved to read.

Before graduation ceremonies at Lockhart Elementary, she used to read stories. She would encourage students to read with their families.

In June 2012, after nine years as principal, Martin retired. Two months later, a quiet retirement was interrupted by a cancer diagnosis.

About a year later, in April 2013, Martin passed away.

Before her death, she asked that books be donated to Lockhart’s library in her honor.

Instead, the Lockhart community led by a group of teacher assistants, are taking her wish a few steps further by working to rename the school’s library to the Martha L. Martin Media Center.

Martin’s nomination started when Dana Detelich and a group of teacher assistants were discussing ways to honor Martin.

“(Martin) believed that every student was important and every student can achieve no matter what their situations were, no matter what their capabalities were,” Detelich said. “Every child had the ability to learn and progress.”

At last week’s Board of Education meeting, District 1 representative Tom Benton said he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the honor.

The board unanimously approved the dedication.

The Martha Martin Collection

Right now, the school has a dedicated showcase of books that have been donated or bought in Martin’s honor. In their online catalog, there is a special section called the Martha Martin Collection.

Donors have given books and money to purchase books. Some have asked media specialist Marni Wall to purchase a specific book, but for the most part, she said she buys books students would enjoy reading.

There are a few books that came to the Martha Martin Collection under special request: “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg and two books in the “Goodnight Moon” series. Wall said Martin’s mother requested “Goodnight Moon” and “The Polar Express” was included to remember how Martin would read it to students.

The collection, however, wasn’t enough for Detelich. Right now, it includes about $1,000 in books. The online catalog shows 69 books and Wall said she had about five more to add to the catalog.

“(Martin’s) legacy lives on,” Detelich said. “We're into (reading) just as much as we were with Mrs. Martin.”

Finalizing the dedication

Wake County Board of Education policy requires that school members work for no less than eight years at a school or 15 total years at different Wake County schools before having something named after them.

The nominations must also be brought to the board by a group, like the Parent Teacher Association, a group of faculty or students or a special council.

Detelich, who had known Martin since 2004, said Lockhart created a petition with signatures from faculty and Lockhart families to bring to the board.

With approval, the school will pay for a plaque, although Detelich said they are discussing the design of it.

“There is no other like Mrs. Martin,” Detelich said. “She’s an amazing person.”

Plans for a ceremony officially opening the Martha L. Martin Media Center are still being finalized, though Detelich said the school is looking to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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