Making a Difference in the Lives of Students

For twelve years, Coach Allen Franklin and his wife Sarah have served the students and families of Henry County as teachers at Union Grove High School.  They are founding faculty members as they helped open the school in 2000, and have the bricks and great memories to prove it.WAH10

When Union Grove opened, each faculty member received a commemorative brick and plaque to celebrate the first year of this new school.  Coach Franklin states with understandable pride that many of these founding members still work at Union Grove, and he attributes much of the school’s success to its stability and sense of family over the years.  “This is a great place to work because of the family atmosphere,” says Franklin, “The people here really care about the school.”

As a vital member of this team, Coach Franklin has helped build the lives of many young people as a math teacher and as an athletic coach.  He leads teams on the baseball field as head coach and in the football stadium as offensive coordinator, recently helping guide the Wolverines to a very successful season in a competitive region.  It is clear that nothing means so much to Coach Franklin as his wife and their three beautiful daughters, but he also refers to the players on his team as “just like sons to me.”  His students and athletes respect him and value his leadership, even when they affectionately refer to him as “old man” when he walks down the hallways carrying his ever-present golf club, which he uses in place of a cane to help steady his walk.  “Students who don’t know me ask, who is that guy that always carries a golf club around?” laughs Franklin.

While Coach Franklin has enjoyed many successes as a teacher over the years, life has not always been easy.  Challenging events in the last several years illustrate the commitment of Allen Franklin to his students, both in the classroom and on the playing field.  Four years ago, significant pain in his hips ultimately led to joint replacement surgery in both hips.  This resulted from a rare health condition that doctors could not fully explain.  However, this setback has not slowed Franklin down.  Rather, it has served as an encouragement to him and his students as he helps them understand that they, too, can overcome unexpected challenges.  His commitment to teaching, to coaching, to Union Grove High School, and, most importantly, to his students remains stronger than ever.

Coach Franklin exemplifies what it means to be a teacher, to go in every day determined to make a difference in the lives of young people, during both good times and difficult times.  Allen Franklin helps build our community child by child, and he represents the perseverance, dedication, and faith in our future common to teachers at our many schools.  I am proud to work with Coach Franklin and with our dedicated team members throughout Henry County.