PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — William T. Dwyer High School is home of the Panthers and a student body of more than 2,300. As principal of the Palm Beach Gardens high school, Corey Brooks wears a lot of hats.
“From top to bottom, whatever the party calls for, I'm going to do it," said Brooks. "If I need to pick up trash, if I need to do classroom observations, if I need to monitor a class for a teacher.”
The job often brings him to the cafeteria, where staff feed hundreds of kids a day. It can be a lot for the lunch crew to handle and that’s where Brooks puts on another hat, or hair net, much to the surprise of students.
The act of kindness was caught on camera by school staff member Tevin Gibson in a social media post garnering mad respect.
“Oh, Mr. Brooks back there? Mr. Brooks, what you doing back there? ‘Hey I’m here to serve,’ those were his exact words, ‘I’m here to serve not just be you guys’ principal,’” said Gibson.
He’s more than a principal for Gibson and his family, adding that he and Brooks, “go way back to when I was in elementary school.”
Brooks used to teach third grade to Gibson and his brother Jervonte back at Lincoln Elementary. Gibson said for his brothers Jervonte, Brooks was a positive force doing his best to keep him out of trouble.
“He took him under his wings, he was like a father figure to him, and a couple other guys at the school,” said Gibson.
“I get chills just thinking about it, as I look back and I remember those gentleman as 9, 10, 11, 12-year-olds,” said Brooks, “and it says a lot about the influence of an administrator, and the influence of a principal, and a teacher--we can’t take our jobs lightly.”
Then and now, Gibson said he’s grateful Brooks is still making sure students feel like more than a number, never forgetting a face.
“Never, I’m great with names and I’m terrible with numbers. I remember my kids name, I make it a mission of mine to give out at least a thousand fist bumps a day,” said Brooks.
The small things adding up for a man dedicated to serving.