Rochester High School Honors Former Teacher Ray Lawson

Rochester High School Falcons celebrated the educational leadership of former teacher, Ray Lawson, by naming the school’s lower collaboration space, media center, and mall area in his honor. The name of the areas will now be referred to as the Ray Lawson Learning Commons.

Dozens of students and teacher surround a man in a wheel chair, inside of Rochester High School.

The senior classes of Rochester High School donated a bronze statue of a falcon, weighing 250 pounds with a wing span of four feet, to honor Lawson. The statue is mounted on a six-foot tall pillar that overlooks the common area.

“Rochester High School dates back to 1883. It’s one of the oldest high schools in the state of Michigan, but our traditions and sense of school community still live on today,” said RHS Principal Neil DeLuca during the ceremony.

Addressing Lawson, DeLuca said, “As our staff ages, and new staff members are hired, it’s important to keep your story alive. It’s easy for a school to purchase a rug, a bench, or a tree to honor someone. For you, we wanted something more permanent. As long as Rochester High School stands, so will this Falcon. Mr. Lawson, you will always be with us, and as a school community, your story of the longest serving educator in the state of Michigan will live on for generations to come. We honor you, we treasure you, and we want you to know, you will forever be a Falcon.”

Dr. Shaner, standing next to lawson, who is in a wheel chair, shake hands with each other inside Rochester High School.

Lawson taught English at Rochester High School for more than 58 years, from 1946 – 2004, and served as the senior class sponsor from 1956 – 2004. 

Lawson graduated from Central State Teachers College, now Central Michigan University, in 1940. He earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and completed post-graduate work at Wayne State, Michigan State, and the University of Michigan.

After his first year of teaching, Lawson served in the U.S. Army, where he honorably performed his duties for six years. In 1946, Lawson returned to the classroom to pursue his passion—teaching.

Lawson became an Oakland Writing Project Fellow in 1982. He was also an active member of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English for his entire career, serving as secretary and treasurer of MCTE for a combined total of nearly 40 years.

“We are honored to be naming the Rochester High School common area after such a dedicated educator,” said Superintendent Robert Shaner, Ph.D.  “Our community treasures Ray’s contributions and his legacy will live on for a long time to come.”

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  1. Kurt Cichowski says

    Definitely was a significant motivator in my life; fragment and semicolon intended!

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