King’s Fork shows Darden how much he’s appreciated

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2005

On Wednesday afternoon, Talmadge Darden threw a party for his King’s Fork Middle School staff. He ended up becoming the guest of honor.

To celebrate the school’s fourth year of educating Suffolk’s adolescents, Darden cooked them up a luncheon.

&uot;I gave them the choice of the food being catered or me cooking,&uot; he said. &uot;They said they wanted me to do it.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

As the meal wound down, Darden thanked retiring teachers Marguerite Heely and Roma Riddick and bus drivers Carol Lewis and Leon Goodman. Then teacher Shameka Council came forward, holding a folder in her arms.

&uot;I knew she was up to something, but I didn’t know what,&uot; Darden said.

Council, who became Fork’s In-school Suspension Coor-dinator this year after substituting last year, told the audience how she’d met Darden as a student at John Yeates Middle School, where he was formerly principal. She mentioned how he’d devoted 26 years to Suffolk Public School service.

Then she reached into the folder and pulled out a special thank you-a certificate signed by Mayor Bobby L. Ralph, commemorating Darden’s work.

&uot;I cried,&uot; Darden said.

&uot;I was very shocked. Little things like that make everything we do worthwhile.&uot;

Darden’s more than just the head of a school, Council said.

&uot;He’s a very devoted worker,&uot; she said.

&uot;He works in the kitchen and drives the school bus. He teachers long hours after school, even if it’s Saturday or Sunday. His hours don’t stop at 2:45 p.m. He’s a jack-of-all-trades, and I wanted to give him something.&uot;