N. Forsyth celebrates legacy of Margaret ‘Maggie’ Griffin

Last weekend the auditorium at North Forsyth High School, was renamed in honor of longtime music and drama instructor Margaret

N. Forsyth celebrates legacy of Margaret ‘Maggie’ Griffin
October 27
08:30 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson

Auditorium renamed to honor retired game-changing music and drama instructor



Last weekend the auditorium at North Forsyth High School was officially renamed to honor former music and drama teacher Margaret “Maggie” Griffin.

For more than 30 years, Griffin helped students reach their full potential both on and off the stage by giving each and every student that walked through the doors the love and attention they needed.

During an interview with The Chronicle, Griffin said that’s what kept her in front of the classroom until her health forced her to retire in 2000.

“For me it was all about love,” said Griffin. “That’s what kept me going all those years. Love for music, love for teaching, but most of all, the students.”

“All I had was love and that’s what I gave to each and every one of my students.”

While she spent most of her teaching career at North Forsyth, Griffin’s first job with the local school district was at then-all black Atkins High where she taught for two years. When she got news that she would be moving to North Forsyth to start the 1970 school year, Griffin questioned if the move was for her. Griffin said she had built a relationship with the students at Atkins and at the time she felt North Forsyth wasn’t the place for her.

At the time, North was recovering from race riots following mandatory integration.

“At first they gave me a choice and I said I didn’t want to go. Then they came back and told me I was going and I didn’t have choice,” she laughed. “It was hard leaving the students at Atkins but looking back I know it was the right decision.”

When she arrived at North Forsyth, quickly got to work bridging the gap between black and white students.  A number of former students said Griffin would go out-side the classroom to ensure their success. One former student, Oliver Helsabeck, said the lessons he learned from Griffin are grounded in his heart and mind.

He said, “Maggie was more than a teacher. She is that friend that helps you believe in yourself and pushes you to look beyond what is easy.”

Mike Muse, Wake Forest University director of basketball operations and player development and North Forsyth alumnus, said, “because of Maggie Griffin, everyone of us knows who we are.

He said, “We know what God expects of us because she made sure that we knew.”

During the celebration, an official proclamation from Mayor Allen Joines was read, officially renaming the auditorium and marking Oct. 22 as Maggie Griffin Day. Superintendent Dr. Beverly Emory said Griffin is a model of what we need in our school today to help every student build a pathway to success.

“I can’t think of a more amazing legacy than that of Margaret Griffin,” Emory said. When asked how it felt to have her name forever connected North Forsyth, Griffin said,

“I loved that school like it was my own home. So this is an honor that I can’t even begin to explain.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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