By: JosevDiaz, MHS Independent Study in Journalism Student
Although many people have walked the halls of Midway High School, few have truly captured the essence of what it means to be a Panther. In recognizing distinguished service, we set out on the often difficult task of honoring someone who is no longer with us. Enter Cindy Ledbetter, former teacher, Goal Tenders coach, and Class of 1972 Midway graduate who captured said essence perfectly.
Ledbetter, who passed away in 2016, was known affectionately by her students and dancers as Coach L. She accomplished something that only the very best of educators can do; she impacted the lives of her students in a way that will remain with them for years. Born in Waco, Ledbetter was a faithful member of the Midway family. In her adult life, she served the district for over 25 years as an English as a Second Language teacher and Goal Tenders director. Her husband, Doug Ledbetter, reflected on her dedication to the Midway community.
“Cindy had a commitment to teach at Midway because she was a graduate. She never had one bad thing to say about the district, it was the best as far as she was concerned,” Doug said.
The dedication that Ledbetter showed to Midway continues to run in the family. Doug Ledbetter worked as a teacher and coach at both the middle and high school for nearly two decades, retiring in early 2016. Furthermore, Lori Wadsworth, the couple’s daughter, took her mother’s place as Goal Tenders director after her passing.
“I stepped into her shoes. She taught ESL, and so I did as well. They encouraged me to take on her job with the Goal Tenders and I try to carry on all of the traditions and expectations that she built and created,” Wadsworth said.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of Ledbetter’s legacy at Midway is the relationships that she formed with her students and dancers. She was known to have had extremely high expectations, but only in the best way possible. Ledbetter never expected anything of her dancers that she did not expect of herself. She led by example, as any great leader would.
“I just wanted to do my best because she was the head coach” recalled former student Makenna Richardson.
Building relationships such as these is not easy, yet she showed love to others in a way we should all aspire to emulate. She instilled values in her students that remain with them long after graduation. She never failed to form bonds with her students, earning their respect and admiration in the process. She loved her girls dearly, acting as a second mother to all of them.
“They knew that they could come in and talk to her about anything, no matter what it was, and she had time for them,” remembers Wadsworth.
Bringing us back to what it means to be a Panther, one could reasonably summarize this in just a few words; hardworking, dedicated, and caring. Ledbetter exhibited all of these qualities with a grace and precision that was truly world class.
“There’s a group of people that, to me, truly represent Midway. I think that my mother was one of those people, and I think the same of all the others being honored as well,” Wadsworth said.
The Distinguished Service Honorees include Jeanie & Tom Johnson, Lisa & Tim O’Leary, and Cindy Ledbetter. The service will be held at Midway Middle School on Sunday, October 20th, 2019 from 2-4 pm. The event is free of charge and the public is invited. A Midway Memorial Grant Fund has been established in memory of Mrs. Ledbetter in order to award an MEF grant in her memory this school year. if you’d like to contribute visit this page.