Outstanding grads laud community

Published 1:26 am Saturday, September 12, 2015


Mike Wells, Kimberly Hutcherson, Jim Purdy and John VIck.


“When I was growing up here, and when I left 50 years ago, I thought best place in the world to grow up. I couldn’t imagine a better place to live.

“Fifty years later, I still think Andalusia truly is a great place to live, and I don’t know if there’s any better.”

That’s a pretty strong endorsement from a man who lives in the greater Atlanta metro area, and whose education and career have shown him a much larger world.

But those were the thoughts Dr. Jim Purdy, AHS Class of 1965, shared yesterday after being recognized as one of the school’s most outstanding graduates.

“I don’t think this was an accident, that so many people who graduated from Andalusia High School have succeeded,” he said. “Andalusia has had great leadership. It starts with citizens who care about students, and with a city council, school board, and school administration that supports education.”

Dr. Purdy’s sentiments were shared by fellow honorees Dr. Kimberly Hutcherson, Dr. Mike Wells, and John Vick.

Dr. Hutcherson, who also practices medicine in the Atlanta area, spoke of the outstanding foundation she received in math and science that prepared her for medical school

“I want to acknowledge and thank those educators,” she said. “The are the foundation of my career.”

Vick, who graduated in 1958, said the system’s teachers were always interested in students.

“Mr. Jim Young taught us not to be afraid of mathematics,” he said. “James Arthur Wilson was my favorite teacher. He made us try to excel.”

Vick recalled a physics test in Wilson’s class that covered the first two chapters of the textbook, and ended with a question from the third chapter.

“What he taught us, was to be curious about the next chapter,” Vick recalled.

Wells said, “Whatever success I’ve had in life, has greatly to do with my upcoming in this community.”

He acknowledged his family’s influence, including his parents, his extended family, and his “much older brothers,” Ashton and Ralph, both of whom were present.

Wells also talked about the volunteers who lead Scouts, church groups, and other endeavors that help mold young people.

“So many alumni faithfully supported their alma mater,” he said. “They’ve set such an example of what can be done to support our high school and other school functions.”

Wells said he spent 20 years away from the community before returning to open his practice.

“I had the good fortune of coming back with Maria to live, raise our children, and be a part of the community,” he said, adding that his son is currently moving his family back here.

“I am excited about the prospect of watching another generation grow up here.”

Their inspiring words remind us that our village has many children to raise, and that those who came before us set high standards for us to uphold.