The Jack McDonald ’45 Service Award was presented to the late Lucy Bright Thatcher '41, who passed away in 2011. From left to right: Austin Center '85, president of the Bright School Alumni Association; Fletcher Bright '43; Joe Thatcher '33, who accepted the award on his wife's behalf, and Lizzer Bright Graham '71.
The Fletcher Bright '43 Distinguished Alumni Alumnus Award was presented to Franklin McCallie '52. From left to right: Head of School O.J. Morgan, Martha Carriger, Bill Carriger '52, Franklin McCallie '52, Tresa McCallie, Sara McCallie, Spencer McCallie '49 and Jack McCallie '69.
Bright School alumni Lucy Bright Thatcher and Franklin McCallie were honored Thursday for their lifelong contributions to the school, education and the community.
The Bright School Alumni Association presented awards to Thatcher and McCallie at the school’s Founder’s Day luncheon at the Fairyland Club on Lookout Mountain. A group of fourth graders began the program with the singing of “Country Gardens” and “The Bright School Song.”
Thatcher, who graduated from Bright School in 1941 and died in 2011, was given the Jack McDonald ’45 Service Award posthumously, and her husband, Joe Thatcher ’33, received the award for her. This award is given to alumni who have contributed significantly to the welfare of Bright School and exemplified the highest standards of the school through selfless devotion to the interests of the school. The late Gordon P. Street Jr. ’50 was given the award in 2014.
Thatcher, the niece of Bright School founder Mary Gardner Bright, worked as an assistant to her aunt at the school in the early 1950s after graduating from Girls Preparatory School and Rollins College. She also worked for the Chattanooga Times in the society section and was the first woman to be elected to the Lookout Mountain Tennessee Town Commission. Thatcher remained committed to the school Miss Bright founded in 1913, serving as a lifelong donor and trustee for many years. She was a member of the search committee that led to the hiring of current Head of School O.J. Morgan.
“In looking at alumni who have served the school in the past in various ways, the association saw Lucy’s involvement as important in continuing the vision of her Aunt Mamie and the valuable role of the school in education,” Morgan said.
McCallie, who graduated from Bright in 1952, received the Fletcher Bright ’43 Distinguished Alumnus Award, which is given to alumni who have exhibited brilliant and distinguished lifelong work in a significant field of endeavor or service. The late Mai Bell Hurley ’40 received this award in 2014.
McCallie, an educator in Chattanooga and St. Louis for more than 40 years, has used his community standing to promote improvement in race relations, interracial dialogue and the rights of all citizens and students. In 2014, the Alton Park Development Corporation awarded McCallie the John P. Franklin Humanitarian Award for his stand against segregation in the 1960s and 70s and for the integration of black and white citizens in Chattanooga since he and his wife, Tresa, returned in 2012. The McCallies have received national acclaim for bringing together more than 500 black and white citizens to their home for interracial conversations to break down barriers and build honest friendships.
During his 22 years as principal of Kirkwood High School in St. Louis County, McCallie was named the Administrator of the Year by both the Missouri and the National Journalism Education Associations for taking very public and sometimes unpopular stands so that his students could accept the challenge of “freedom of the student press.” In 2000, the Kirkwood Area Chamber of Commerce conferred on McCallie its Lifetime Achievement Award. He was further honored by another alma mater, McCallie School, in 1998 with its Alumni Achievement Award.
“Not only have you distinguished yourself in the world of education, as your years as a school head demonstrate, but you have brought a profound vision of unity and reconciliation to our community,” Morgan said. “Your work corresponds beautifully to the school’s mission. We seek to educate “wise and compassionate citizens of the world,” and in the programs we offer and the experiences we provide our students, we hope to grow the same awareness and desire to bring reconciliation to life as you do. I see it as education of the most profound kind.”
The following are McCallie's remarks at Founder's Day:
Back at school, I was aware as early as kindergarten that various classmates gave us insights into our own strengths and weaknesses—especially our weaknesses. For instance, our class learned that when Marjorie Caine moved up to the front desk in the "turn down" game, we might as well begin again, because no one was going to move Marjorie from that front desk, not even the brainy Anne Gayle Novell or the enlightened Bill Carriger, another of my cousins in that class.