The wife of Page High School’s first principal looks back with laughter and fondness at her husband’s appointment to Walter Hines Page High School. In an interview with her at her Friendly Avenue apartment, Mrs. Medlin agreed to discuss Page, her husband, and the years he was principal at the newly built school. Looking much younger than her 95 years, Mrs. Luther Medlin, who now resides at Friends Homes West in Greensboro, gives us a glimpse into the man who guided Page through its first nine years.
“Those were exciting and happy years for Luke, as he worked night and day to make that school run as smoothly as possible,” said Helen Medlin as she waxed sentimental over those times. “He loved those kids and had the highest hopes for every single one of them.”
She then broke into laughter while remembering a recurring request. “He garnered so much respect from the students that he sometimes received some strange requests. I can remember there was a parent who would call our home at least once each month, generally on a Sunday night around 10 PM, asking to speak to Mr. Medlin. The voice on the other end of the line would ask Luke to administer punishment to his son first thing Monday morning! Well, Luke would tell him he could not do that, as the problem was not at school. But the father would insist on it, saying ‘He respects you, Mr. Medlin, and punishment coming from you would be much more effective than coming from me!’”
In addition to his duties with students and teachers, Luke Medlin was able to avoid manual labor in the home. Her eyes glistening, the principal’s widow began, “It was the summer after he was appointed to Page that I told him we needed to paint the porch. He agreed, so I went and bought the paint, the brushes, and the rollers. Every time I would get him ready to help me paint, the phone would ring, and it was the secretary at Page High School. Off he’d go, claiming that he needed to be up there for an important meeting. I later accused him of having the school call him, just so he could run up there to avoid painting! To make a long story short, I ended up painting, not just the porch, but the entire outside of that house!
Page High School got the best of him, and I got the rest of him!” Mrs. Medlin not only wishes the best to all of those students who attended Page while her husband was at the helm, but to all Page graduates and friends who continue to bring great things to the school. A long-time educator, Helen Medlin was also a principal in the Greensboro City School System for many years.
John Graham, Page Parent - written November, 2007