Faith & Family - Cullman, Alabama Spring 2020 - Page 33

community near Guntersville. His mother, a devout Christian and Sunday school teacher, made sure to take his brothers to church. His father took over their spiritual development when Teal was about 10. New to the Christian faith, Teal’s father made sure they stayed in church during their teen years whether they wanted to or not. Teal said there is no doubt that his upbringing and the added guidance of two godly grandmothers were a great influence on him and his brothers. He and his older brother are ordained ministers, and his younger brother is an ordained deacon, all in the Baptist church. Teal tried to impart the same Christian teachings to his son Jason, daughter Melanie and six grandchildren. Changing a community When Teal graduated from Jacksonville State University in 1968, he knew he wanted to teach. His first job was at Kate Duncan Smith DAR School in Grant, where he stayed for 25 years. His college science teacher, upon learning that he was taking a job at KDS, shared a personal connection to the school. In the early 1920s, the teacher’s father was on the search committee commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution to find a location for the school. The teacher’s father said they found the most backward place in the U.S. — Grant, Alabama. Teal said, in those days, such a statement was probably true, as the setting was on top of a mountain, isolated, without good roads or many educational opportunities. KDS helped to change that. Established in 1924, it is the only privately owned and publicly run school in the U.S. “And the Daughters were fully invested in it,” Teal said. “It was a joy to work with them.” Teal stayed at the job for 25 years. He said what DAR did for the community is immeasurable. “But its greatest achievement is that it has turned around the lives of many students who would not have much of an opportunity,” Teal said. “I was privileged to be a part of that.” Students agree According to Shannon Benton, KDS class of 1980, students feel the same way. Benton recently organized a group of former students who attended the school sometime between 1968 and 1993 to surprise Teal, whom they still call “Coach,” at the morning worship at West Highland Baptist Church, where Teal is now pastor. “KDS is a source of pride to the Grant community, and Mr. Teal was a huge part of it,” Benton said at the time. “... We just wanted him to know how much he meant to so many.” An emotional Teal said from the pulpit that day, “Being inducted into the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame last August is kind of a big deal for an old coach, but this is the April 2020 | Faith & Family 33