Ronald Nixon, a 2008 ECSU graduate, accepts a $10,000 award along with Northeastern High School principal Angela Cobb. Nixon, a coach and teacher at Elizabeth City’s Northeastern High School, was recently named one of 10 North Carolina School Heroes.
You don’t have to look far to see the significant impact Elizabeth City State University’s graduates have on their communities; they’re putting their mark on the world every day. That’s what happened recently when 2006 graduate Ronald Nixon was honored with “Coach Ronald Nixon Day,” for his work as a teacher and head basketball coach at Elizabeth City’s Northeastern High School.
Nixon is one of the North Carolina Education Lottery’s North Carolina School Heroes. He was honored at Northeastern High School for his “infectious energy and the care he shows for his students,” according to officials at N.C. Education Lottery.
Nixon, who graduated from ECSU with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education, is Northeastern’s head basketball coach, assistant football coach, and health and physical education teacher. According to Northeastern High parent Lea McMannen, Nixon is the sort of teacher students will never forget.
“Even now students he taught or coached years ago still come back just to see him and say thank you,” said McMannen.
The N.C. School Heroes program was established to highlight the positive impacts educators have on public school students. Nixon was one of 10 honorees chosen out of 6,000 nominations across the state.
He received a $10,000 award, and an additional $10,000 was awarded to Northeastern High School.
“I feel honored and it’s very exciting,” said Nixon. “This honor is not just for me, but for our community and all the people who do so much to support it.”
Nixon said that his “assignment from God is to build relationships” with his students and teach them life skills.
“I challenge them every day, every single day,” he said.
Friday, May 31, was officially declared “Coach Ronald Nixon Day” at Northeastern. Students wore school colors to celebrate his honor as they filled the high school gym for the celebration.
Members of Nixon’s family, fellow teachers, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank School Board members, and Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker – an ECSU graduate and former Northeastern High teacher – gathered for the event, cheering and applauding as Nixon arrived to receive his award.
“There are thousands of heroes like Ronald Nixon doing amazing work in our public schools,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “Teachers, cafeteria workers, custodians, school resource officers, all make a big difference for our students every day. We’re glad our School Heroes program shines a spotlight on their great work.”