The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

January 10, 2014

Our Town: Former educator to celebrate 80th birthday


A former superintendent and principal who has worked at several schools in East Texas will be celebrating his 80th birthday Sunday with a special “Walk Through Memories” celebration.

Family, friends, former students and staff are invited to attend the birthday celebration for Marcellus Parrish from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Neches Community Center.

Parrish served as superintendent of Neches Independent School District from 1977 to 1984 and also was superintendent of Mabank Independent School District in 1970 until his appointment to Neches.

Many local residents also will remember Parrish as serving as principal at Westwood High School from 1965 to 1969.

“I am looking forward to people sharing their memories. It's a chance to see so many people — former students and staff that I worked with,” Parrish said during an interview with the Herald-Press this week. “It's neat to still live here. It's always a pleasure to visit with former students and know about their lives and their accomplishments.”

At Westwood High School, Parrish was given a special nickname “Twinkle Toes.”

“They gave me the nickname because I was able to silently walk up on students to see what they were doing,” Parrish joked. “I still have former students from there call me 'Twinkle Toes.'”

Parrish grew up in the Brushy Creek community and attended school at the Brushy Creek School before it became a part of the Frankston Independent School District. Several educators during that time inspired him in his education career including former coach and principal J.C. Hicks, superintendent A.B. Awalt and vocational agriculture teacher Wilbur Phifer.

Many people still remember Parrish's accomplishments on the basketball court for the Frankston Indians.

“I was one of the starting players and I was known for my height,” Parrish joked. “I was 6'4 and less than 150 pounds.”

One of his grandsons followed in the family tradition on the basketball court. Grandson Cayne Parrish was a basketball starter during his last two years at Frankston High School (2004-05).

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