Dorothy Young was an inspiration for many

Published 6:02 am Sunday, March 17, 2013

The news of Dorothy Young’s passing first rippled through the community on Thursday afternoon. Nearly everyone expressed shock that the energetic 71-year-old who was always on the go had died at her son’s home in Texas that day.

Young, who was involved in dozens of community activities and organizations, touched the lives of many Washington Parish residents through the years in her capacity as an educator and a tireless advocate for improving literacy throughout the area.

Lisa Turnage, a first-grade teacher at Franklinton Primary School, was trying to come to terms with Young’s death.

“The world has lost a fierce leader,” she said.

“Her passion was educating our children and literacy in our community. She was always very energetic in everything she did. She never let anything slow her down. She was a real inspiration to me.”

That seemingly boundless energy was noted not only by Turnage but also by most everyone who knew her.

“We have lost a very special lady,” said Ginger Champagne, principal of Wesley Ray Elementary School.

“She was very involved with the school and the community. Even after she retired, she volunteered at the school. She loved to come out and read to the students,” Champagne added.

“We are flying the flag at half-staff today (Friday).”

Wesley Ray preschool teacher Melanee Berry said Young lived her life in service to others: her family, friends, church, school and community.

“She believed that learning was like living — you do it daily! She lifted us up to believe that we could be more than we could be. She was our inspiration.

“Her greatest joy was the smiles on the faces of the children at Wesley Ray,” she said. “She will be missed.”

Misty Mulford, a kindergarten teacher at Wesley Ray, said about Young, “One thing I loved most about Ms. Young was her sense of fairness. She believed in equality no matter your race, religion or job title. She often quoted the Bible, saying, ‘Love begets love.’ She demonstrated it as our principal, and in turn it encouraged us to do our best as a teacher.”

Young, who was current president of the executive board of Louisiana Reading Association, was also president of the board of Adapt, Inc., and involved with Habitat for Humanity, CASA, the Varnado Community Recreation Center, Concerned Citizens, and many, many other groups.

“She was a founding board member,” said Charlette Fornea, executive director of Adapt, “and she has been president of the board for the past couple of years.

“She has been an inspiration to me for many, many years. I worked with her when she was principal of Wesley Ray, and I was the counselor there for about five years. She was a wonderful person, very caring,” Fornea said.

“She talked about her school as her family. She was also assistant principal at Pine School back in the 70s or 80s before she went to Wesley Ray.”

A native of the Varnado-Angie area, Young was a member of Mary’s Chapel United Methodist Church. She was married to Climel Young Sr. and the mother of four: Stanley Young, Eld. Lawrence Young, Climel Young Jr. and Rosalind Young.