Ritchie Tolar had a ball at the 2023 Weston High School graduation commencement exercises this past May. By the time it was over he had a whole bunch of them.
It is a traditional custom for the principal of a school to hand each senior their diploma during the school graduation ceremony. Tolar did just as he has for the past seven years but this year there was a little twist in the proceedings. After Tolar gave each graduate their keepsake memory, he received a solid red painted golf ball from each in return. By the time the event was over, close to 40 golf balls were bulging out of every pocket of his suit.
The unusual exchange was the 2023 WHS graduating class’s way of giving congratulations to Tolar on his retirement, closing the chapter on what are 35 years of dedicating his life to the betterment of students, including 27 years as an educator/administrator in Jackson Parish.
After graduating from Jonesboro-Hodge High School where he was a standout two-sport star in basketball and baseball and receiving his college degree at Louisiana Tech University, Tolar began his career in education at Dodson High School in 1987 as a teacher and boys basketball head coach.
In 1996, Tolar moved to Weston High where was the head coach of the boys’ basketball team for 13 years, baseball for 10 years, and girls’ basketball for two years, winning several district championships and making multiple playoff appearances. In 1999 he ascended into school administration as an Assistant Principal, a position he held until 2016 when he was named principal at Weston High.
“The time I spent at Weston High School will forever be special to me and has meant so much to not only me but my family as well. I was extremely blessed to be able to work with my wife (Kristie) in a great environment like this and be able to be there while our children were going through their school years,” reflected Tolar. I can’t thank enough all the many faculty, staff, alumni, students, and parents for their support over the years.”
Since school let out in May, Tolar has been spending the month of June grooming his replacement, David Huckaby. His official last day at WHS was this past Thursday, June 29th., when he said goodbye for one final time.
“It was a bittersweet day and I kept getting emotional, especially when saying goodbye to all those I have spent so many years working with,” said Tolar. “A lot of great memories kept flooding back through my mind all day long.”
What is next?
While most people are said to be headed out to pasture when they retire, you will find Tolar spending his newfound time of leisure on the tee boxes and greens primarily at the Jackson Parish Golf Course but also at other nearby links in the area as well.
Attention golfers! If you happen to find a red ball during your round, please return to Ritchie!
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