Allen Jay is a person, not just an elementary school

Nov. 16, 2012 @ 12:52 AM

The recent donation of a portrait of Allen Jay will serve as a testimony to the work of the namesake of Allen Jay Elementary School. Teachers and staff at the school applauded Nov. 6 as the portrait was presented to Principal Dawn Spencer.

Three groups organized the donation of the portrait — Springfield Memorial Association, Allen Jay Alumni Association and Communities In Schools of High Point.

Artist Wayne Gless worked from a photograph for about 80 hours to produce the acrylic portrait.

“My wife Jane and sister-in-law Patsy Hill taught here for a number of years,” said Gless, who brought along his “assistant,” great-neice and Hill’s granddaughter Katelyn Hill.

For the past few years, the school has enjoyed a partnership with Springfield Friends Meeting. Some of Springfield’s projects to support the school include a fund for field trips for students who can’t afford it, teacher lunches and volunteer to deliver backpacks of food on behalf of Community Outreach of Archdale-Trinity.

Built in 1956, Allen Jay Elementary School was named after minister, evangelist and educator Allen Jay, who after the Civil War was sent to North Carolina by Quakers known as the Baltimore Association.

“When Allen Jay came here, homes were in ruins and the farms were destroyed,” said Pastor Ray Luther of Springfield Friends Meeting. “One of the things he did was to teach farming techniques such as crop rotation so that people could have a sustainable income. We hope that this [portrait] will help to tell his story.”

Communities In Schools coordinator Allan Johnson voiced his feelings that the portrait is a good fit for the school.

“This is a culturally diverse school,” he said. “I think it will help some of the children learn about tolerance and caring for each other.”

“We are honored to hang this portrait of Allen Jay in our office,” said Spencer. “Now the kids will understand that he was a real person.