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Scholarship honors departing superintendent

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By April Wright, Reporter

Galax City Council has set up a scholarship through the Galax Foundation for Excellence in Education to honor former Schools Superintendent Sam Cook, who retired in December.

The city has pledged up to $2,500 to match private donations raised throughout the community to fund a scholarship for a deserving Galax High School senior in Cook's name.

Mayor C.M. Mitchell presented a resolution recognizing Cook's dedication to education for 42 years — his career as teacher, coach, principal, vocational director, assistant superintendent and the last 17 years as superintendent of two school systems, including nearly 13 years at Galax.

During his tenure with Galax, the resolution noted, Cook helped achieve full accreditation for all three schools, saw the schools become annually ranked within the top 10 school divisions statewide in percentage of students pursuing secondary education and promoted the purchase and integration of technology into the instructional programs.

Cook witnessed students in Galax schools achieve academic and athletic excellence during his 12 years leading the school division. He also administered several construction projects, most recently an $8 million renovation to GHS.

“It's been over 12 years, and now you're graduating — with honors,” said Mitchell to Cook and city council. “It has been my pleasure to work with Sam over the years. It will be difficult to find someone to take over the responsibility Sam has taken on.”

“When I came here, I was told that 'We'll never give you everything you want, but you'll always know education is our number one priority,'” said Cook. “I agree with that wholeheartedly and haven't found anyone who would disagree. I'm going to miss Galax.”

Cook thanked city council members for their efforts.

Council and those in attendance gave Cook a standing ovation.

Cook will return to his hometown in Franklin County, but council told Cook to always consider Galax his home.