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St. James superintendent retiring

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / March 28, 1998

LUTCHER – St. James Parish Superintendent John Boughton has seen timesone never forgets. He has seen good times, bad times and tragic timesduring his 35 years working for the St. James Parish School System.Boughton was the football coach at St. James High from 1964-1970 andcoached the team to a championship in 1966.

“My happiest days are the days I coached the St. James Wildcats,” he said.”If I had it all to do over I might have coached 35 years. Of course, it wasfun because we were winning.”After coaching, Boughton became principal of the school and stayed in that position for 17 years.

In 1980, Boughton saw bad times when St. James High burned down andtragedy when a student was killed on the football field after a tackle.

The school burned down in the spring. To house classrooms, the gym had tobe partitioned, Boughton recalled, and portables were brought in for about four years until reconstruction.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Boughton said. “The control of the kids was betterbecause there were no corners to hide behind.”The worse thing about it was rainy days, Boughton said.

“One day I had to make a pathway for the kids to walk through my office so they wouldn’t get too wet,” he said.

After 17 years of principalship, Boughton moved on to supervisor status at the central office. He was Chapter 1 supervisor for two years andoperation and maintenance supervisor for six years. Then he was promotedto superintendent.

But now at 61, and after four years, Boughton is retiring. He emotionallyannounced it at the school board meeting Tuesday night.

“It’s hard to let go,” he said with tears in his eyes.

“We’re certainly going to miss you,” John Schexnayder, board member said.

Other board members feel the same way and said they are appreciative of Boughton’s ability to separate school business from friendship.

“You’ve always kept arguments behind closed doors, but we’ve still remained friends,” board member Kenneth Foret said.

George Nassar commended Boughton for his dedication over the years.

“I’d like to thank Mr. Boughton for the leadership he has shown in my timeon the board, which has only been about three years,” Nassar said. “And forthe help you have given the students.”Board member Carol Lambert said she is glad for the friendship she has with Boughton. “You’re big, tough John, but really a teddy bear,” she saidaffectionately.

Boughton’s retirement is effective July 1, but he has acquired 31-and-a- half vacation days because over 35 years he only missed 40 days of work, and that was to care for his ill parents.

“If you’ve got a job to do, you get your tail up and go to work,” Boughton said.

For the future, Boughton plans to spend much of his time fishing, helping his wife Frieda raise horses and traveling. But he will always rememberthe lives he touched in the St. James School System.”I’ve seen a lot of kids,” Boughton said. “It’s meant a lot to me. I can stillremember the numbers they wore and how they looked in their helmets.

I’m proud of those kids. They’ve turned out to be good daddies and goodcitizens.”

Photo: BOUGHTON

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