December 2020 Alumni Spotlights: Susan Parr (FCHS ’70) and John Moody (NA ’54)

December 2020 Alumni Spotlights: Susan Parr (FCHS ’70) and John Moody (NA ’54)

We’re looking back at our 4th edition of the Legacy Ledger and are thrilled to celebrate two incredible NAFC grads who have given back in unique and impactful ways. 🌟

🔬 Meet John Moody, the Bulldog grad who returned to teach at New Albany and dedicated 30 years to educating future science teachers at IU Southeast. His legacy includes numerous awards and a profound impact on student-athletes. Since this article was originally published, Dr. John Charles Moody passed away at the age of 85 on November 23, 2021.

👩‍🎓 And introducing Susan Parr, one of the “original Highlanders” from Floyd Central. Susan’s journey from valedictorian to visionary led to the founding of Brandon’s House, providing invaluable counseling services to over 4,000 families in Floyd County.

Join us in honoring their remarkable contributions.

Excerpt from the December 2020 Legacy Ledger (Issue 4):

Alumni Spotlight Header

In this month’s Alumni Spotlight, we introduce two graduates who have given something back to the NAFC school system, in two rather different ways. One is a Bulldog grad, who went on to teach science at New Albany and then became a teacher of science teachers for thirty years. The other was one of the “original Highlanders”. She identified a need among teens throughout Floyd County and did something about it.

At both high schools, the end of 2020 brings new promises. Who doesn’t look forward to alumni events and the chance to welcome more of our celebrated NAFC grads into their respective Halls of Fame? It has been a pleasure to compile these stories of some of our distinguished alumni,  gaining the opportunity to learn more about old friends, and getting to know some that we had never met in person. As we move ahead into 2021, we look forward to the support of and the feedback from you, our readers. We’re eager to uncover fresh new profiles from the legions of our NAHS and FCHS alumni families, and to share them with you!

Introduction and profiles contributed by Rex Bickers, FCHS ‘70

Susan Parr with FCHS logo

Among the Floyd Central grads featured so far in this column, Susan is the first one who was “there when the doors opened”, in the fall of 1967. One of three valedictorians in her graduating class, she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at IU Southeast in only three years.

The career path she anticipated, as a high school teacher, took a turn that sparked a detour into counseling. It ended up defining her life for the next forty years. It began with a program called “Even Start” created for young parents of children enrolled in “Head Start”.

Spanning the next eighteen years, she juggled the uncharted territory of teaching and counseling these young adults, marrying and raising three young children, and combining all that with returning to graduate school. She earned a master’s degree in counseling at IUS in 1993. As part of her graduate school work, she envisioned a free counseling program for teens across Floyd County.

Susan’s vision became a reality when Brandon’s House opened in 1993, thanks in part to strong support from Depauw United Methodist Church, literally next door to New Albany High School. She was so much more than just the founder; serving as its only director for the next 24 years. The impact of the counseling services offered by Brandon’s House has been staggering. Over 4000 families served; nearly three million dollars’ worth of free professional mental health counseling provided. Fitting accolades have been awarded to Susan, from Rotary Club of New Albany, from IU Southeast, and in 2002, she was named “Counselor of the Year” for the state of Indiana.

Susan and her husband Rolf are the proud parents of three Floyd Central graduates, and they are knee-deep in the lives of their thirteen grandchildren. They live in Greenville, just a few miles from Floyd Central.

We asked Susan: “In what ways did Floyd Central make a lasting impression on you?”

She answered: “Floyd Central helped to prepare me not only for college but for life as well. The teachers were dedicated to helping students hone their critical thinking and writing skills. Even though we were a brand new school, music and theatre departments were started from scratch, and now, both are known for excellence far beyond anyone’s wildest imagination, back in the early years. Most importantly, to me, was the fact that the teachers and administrative staff genuinely cared about the students.”

John Moody with NAHS Logo

Update since originally published: John Moody passed away on November 23, 2021.

When any high school graduate returns to his alma mater to teach, it’s always a cause for hometown pride. John Moody earned his bachelor’s degree (biology) and master’s degree (education) at Purdue and returned to teach science at NAHS in 1960. He was a good teacher who became better, and in just seven years, he began the pursuit to become a teacher of teachers. He received a prestigious Danforth Scholarship to the University of Virginia and earned his doctorate with a focus on high school science education, in 1970.

He joined the faculty of IU Southeast at the old Jeffersonville campus and became the school’s first full-time member of the Education Department committed to secondary education. He rose to become the chairperson for secondary education, setting new standards for training high school science teachers over the next 30 years. At the local, university-wide, and national level, he won a dozen teaching awards.

John lettered in football, baseball, and track at NAHS and took special pride in meeting the needs of student-athletes at IUS. He served as an academic advisor to the athletics department for 25 years. In 2016 he received the Grenadier Gratitude award for his generous support to IUS athletics. Even in his hobbies, Dr. Moody was committed to education. He served as a consultant to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and won awards for instructional materials used in hunting education.

John was married to his high school sweetheart and classmate for 57 years, the late Carolyn (Rippy) Moody (NAHS ’54). They raised two daughters, Anita (NAHS ’84) and Jennifer (NAHS ’92). Dr. Moody is now in a quieter phase of his life. For the preparation of this profile, the assistance of his daughter, Anita Solomon, has been very helpful.

We spoke with Dr. Moody and with Anita, and we asked: “Even though you only taught at New Albany for seven years – – a much shorter time than your career at IUS – – were there fellow coaches or teachers that you particularly remember from your alma mater?”

They both answered “Oh yes. Of course, there were so many greats, but it was fabulous, getting to play football for Forrest McCaffry, and then later, getting to coach with him. Likewise, there was an equally strong bond with Gary Austin (NAHS ’57). It traces back to having first been schoolmates together, and then, reunited to teach and to coach together. These became lifelong friendships.”

Read the entire December 2020 Legacy Ledger (Issue 4).

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