The late North Lake Principal George Butler had given so much to his students, and those who knew him best are preserving his memory through a special scholarship fund.
Mr. Butler passed away on Dec. 14, 2020, at age 73 at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System in Winchester from complications related to COVID-19.
In memory of Mr. Butler, North Lake teachers are establishing the George Butler Scholarship Fund.
Sherry Sells, North Lake third-grade teacher and curriculum and instruction coach, has been a driving force behind establishing the scholarship fund.
She said Mr. Butler — who had been the Franklin County School System’s longest-serving educator with his tenure at North Lake stemming back to 1971 when he became principal and taught grades 4, 5 and 6 — was a major influence on herself and everyone else he came into contact with.
Sells explained that in her 24 years at North Lake, Mr. Butler was the only principal she worked with.
“He was an amazing individual and an advocate for all children to succeed and be successful,” she said.
Sells explained that it only seemed fitting to go the extra distance to honor Mr. Butler through the scholarship fund because of what he had done for North Lake’s students and their betterment during the past five decades.
She explained that Mr. Butler always promoted the school’s students to strive to achieve their best, and she hopes the scholarship fund will help attain that objective.
She added that she hopes the results of the effort will be far-reaching.
“I want him to look down and say ‘you’re doing an outstanding job,’” Sells said, referring to continuing North Lake’s educational legacy.
She said that former North Lake students who are graduating seniors at Franklin County High School will be eligible to apply for the scholarship by writing an essay.
The North Lake Committee will be selling “NORTH LAKE STRONG” T-shirts as well as accepting monetary donations to develop the scholarship fund.
Proceeds from the T-shirt orders will go directly into an account designated for the George Butler Scholarship Fund at FirstBank. The account will also be accepting any monetary donations to help raise money for the scholarship fund.
T-shirt forms and payments should be mailed or dropped by North Lake Elementary, 10626 Old Tullahoma Road, Tullahoma, TN 37388.
Those choosing to make monetary donations may go to any Middle Tennessee or North Alabama FirstBank branch.
Sells said that North Alabama has been included because Mr. Butler had strong ties to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration community there.
Those who would like to contribute over the phone may do so by calling FirstBank at (931)-967-9967 and asking for Lauren Sims.
The account will also have two teachers’ names, Jennie Lewis and Magen Mathias, associated with it in case the branch has difficulty in locating the account.
When Mr. Butler had passed away, Director of Schools Stanley Bean, who had known him since childhood, said the loss was difficult to bear, and he will be sorely missed.
“Everybody knew him. He’s the only principal North Lake has ever had,” Bean said. “It’s a major tragedy losing Mr. George Butler.”
In addition to being a tremendous loss for the School System, Bean said Mr. Butler, who was residing in Cowan, had been actively involved in churches in Franklin County.
He had made a significant impact in the community outside of his involvement with the School System, Bean had said.