By Joel McNeece
Calhoun County Journal
Dr. Scott Wright, pastor of Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church, was standing in front of a class at Calhoun City Elementary where he was serving as a substitute teacher when he was told he had been named the Parent of the Year for the school.
“It was a huge surprise to say the least,” Wright said.
A few days later he was in his office at the church when he received an e-mail from the school district office congratulating him on being named the Parent of the Year for the whole district.
“Couldn’t believe it,” Wright said grinning. “I wondered if I had to pay somebody or something.”
It wasn’t nearly as big a surprise to his many students in Calhoun City Schools, the members of his church or the people in the community.
Since arriving in Calhoun City four years ago, Wright has taken an active role in the community. Whether serving as a volunteer fireman, emceeing local fundraising events or mentoring-tutoring students at Calhoun City Elementary with the local Rotary Club, Wright is serious about being involved.
“This church is very supportive,” he said. “It’s the best church I’ve ever pastored, as far as openness and willingness for me to do all I want to do. They want a pastor really involved in the community. I think that’s why we fit together well.
“I don’t feel like I’m just appointed to Lewis Memorial, but to Calhoun City and Calhoun County. As John Wesley said, ‘The world is my parish.’”
Wright began substitute teaching last school year at both the elementary and high school.
“I really enjoy it. I enjoy children and youth,” he said. “We have a small children’s ministry here at the church, but we really don’t have any youth, so getting involved with the schools gives me that opportunity.”
He considered going back to school to get a teaching certificate, but after recently completing his doctorate work, Wright decided he was ready to have a break from school work but not a break from school. The jovial, always looking for a laugh Wright is a popular figure walking the halls at CCES. Not a student passes him by without a fist bump, high five or big hug.
His wife Denise teaches fifth grade at CCES, and both his daughters Kaelin and Ali Grace attend school there.
“My wife is probably the best teacher I’ve ever known,” Wright said. “She gives her total heart to the job and really invests herself in the kids. She’s been an example to me, helping me learn to teach and how to connect with the kids.”
Kaelin and Ali Grace are quick to offer advice to their dad as well, especially when he’s on their campus.
“Kaelin told me I shouldn’t kiss her when were at school,” Wright said smiling.
In everything he does, he uses humor and laughter. “It generally is the best medicine,” he said. “When we laugh we open up more and make ourselves more vulnerable to one another. I believe that’s important.”
A Meridian native, the 39-year-old Wright said being genuine is the key to fitting in with the community.
“I try to be as real in the pulpit as I am when I bump into somebody in the grocery store,” he said.
During his 13 years in the ministry, serving at churches in Meridian, Enterprise, Benton, Byhalia and Calhoun City, Wright has served with the local fire department in three of those stops.
“It’s really an escape for me,” he said, “a way for me to get involved in the community by really helping people, particularly people in need. Besides, what little boy didn’t grow up wanting to be a fireman, with the sirens, the loud horns and the big red trucks?”
Back at school He’s just “Bro. Scott,” where his motto of treating every kid like his own is evident in the kids’ faces as they see him approaching. “This is fun, being around all the kids,” Wright said.
This story originally appeared in the Calhoun County Journal and is used with permission.