Cumberland County High School will induct Jane Allen Way into its Hall of Fame Thursday.
Way was born in Jackson County, TN. She has been married to Arlon Way for 62 years. They have one daughter, Kimberly Gentry, who graduated from CCHS in 1980, four grandsons and two great-granddaughters.
Jane and Arlon moved to Cumberland County in 1962 where Arlon began his teaching career on opening day of Cumberland County High School. Jane worked as a substitute teacher and, in 1974, took an interim teaching position at CCHS.
The fall of 1975 she became secretary to the principal, filling in for the secretary who was on maternity leave. The former secretary did not return and the rest is history, said Brenda Hall, CCHS teacher and coordinator of the Hall of Fame recognition event.
For 47 years and ten months, Mrs. Way, as she was known to students, faculty and the community, served six principals: Tom Upshaw, Gary Nixon, Roger Eichelberger, Paul Hodge, Janet Graham and Jon Hall. She retired June 30, 2022.
Way much preferred to work in the background to make sure others had a great day. Serving the principals, the teachers, and the students all of these years was a passion more than a job. She repeatedly encouraged students to have a great day and, if it was not great, to go make it great.
In 1998 the Friendship Garden was built on the CCHS campus by the help of many community sponsors, supportive school personnel, and students. A fellow teacher, Janet Burnett, who knew of Mrs. Way’s love for gardening, enlisted her help to design and construct this beautiful area on the CCHS campus.
The following year the Garden Club was started with Mrs. Way sponsoring many events to help students appreciate their surroundings. The street banners that were erected on the streets leading into CCHS, the yearly scholarship for a worthy student, and homecoming floats were only a few of the contributions to the school.
Hosting special events for teachers and guests was a talent she relished doing. Until this year, she was the one behind the scene of the CCHS annual Hall of Fame celebration.
“Giving of herself to the faculty and students of CCHS was her special gift,” said Hall. “No job was too menial or too large to tackle when it came to helping others. She has literally mentored, or shall I say ‘mothered,’ thousands of students while serving as our secretary. When anyone entered our building they would always receive a friendly smile and a sincere, ‘How may I help you?’”
Her devotion to her physical family, her church family, and her CCHS family is one to be admired. Without question, “Once a Jet, always a Jet.”
Please join CCHS faculty and the community at a reception to celebrate Mrs. Jane Allen Way Thursday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m. in the school library. Mrs. Way will serve as the grand marshal of the Homecoming parade that will leave the school at 1:30 on the same day.