John Robinson An Uncommon Educator
The following article is from the Monday August 30, 1976 edition of the Paducah Sun, written by Preston Kennedy. The editorial was published upon Mr Robinson's death in 1976 and is a fitting tribute to the memory of his life achievements. The following is a transcription of that article. The original publication may be viewed HERE.
Editorial by Preston Kennedy
John Robinson, whose footprints through this community were set in concrete instead of
being merely imprinted on the sands of time, was an educator of and for the common people. No other educator,
with the possible exception of Walter C. Jetton, has wielded so much influence on the lives of an entire
generation of this area's young people.
Education was Mr. Robinson's life--not his livelihood. He drifted into it almost by accident. But once immersed, he never gave thought to getting out of the educational stream. He believed in education as a means of improving everybody's quality of life, and he loved people enough that he wanted everyone to receive its full benefits.
Although he made his highest marks as a school administrator while principal at Lone Oak, Mr. Robinson was also a competent classroom teacher, basketball coach, debate coach, business college administrator and, in his final years, member of the policy-making Kentucky Board of Education.
Few educators had as widely varied experience, with as much success, as Mr. Robinson dld. During his long career he taught courses in English, mathematics, history, science and home economics. He coached two basketball teams to district championships and took two debate teams into state debate tournament finals at the University of Kentucky. He also was an authentic Shakespeare scholar, which is a little-known fact that was furnished to us by Mr. Jetton. He was an excellent cook and taught this area's first boy's class in home economics. He took on the home ec class when the county board of education was unable to find a home economics teacher for Lone Oak during the hectic years of the atomic plant boom in McCracken County.
One of Mr. Robinson's greatest attributes as a school principal was his ability to instill in the students and faculty of his school his own ideas regarding achievement and excellence. He was a stickler for excellence and one who was never willing to settle for second best. He inspired, and drove, those around him to strive for the very best.
He was proud of the high percentage of Lone Oak graduates who went on to college while he was serving as principal there. The average over one five-year period was 72.5 per cent, which was second highest in the state. During the last year of his tenure the figure rose to 87 per cent.
One reason for this outstanding school record was the personal interest Mr. Robinson took in those students who wanted to continue their education after high school. Instead of writing letters or making telephone calls to help former students get college loans or obtain admission to the colleges of their choice, Mr. Robinson often accompanied them personally and used his influence with the college officials he knew to get the students enrolled.
John Robinson believed in education for the common people. He knew that many who attended high school would never make it through college, but he insisted that potential dropouts be given the same educational opportunity as those who were more academically inclined. He also encouraged many who never had any ldea of going to college to give it a try. At least one of those today holds a PhD degree.
The Paducah area has lost a great school man, an outstanding citizen and an unforgettable personality in the death of John Robinson. Those who grew up under the influence of his tutelage have received a prilvilege for which they can be thanklul the rest of their lives. He was an uncommon educator for the common people.