THOMASVILLE — The next time Frank “Poppa D” Delaney Jr. walks through the doors of the Thomas County Central High School gymnasium, he’ll be entering a facility bearing his name.

Much to his surprise and his apparent chagrin, the longtime educator was given the honor of having the gym named for him Monday morning.

It was ostensibly a convocation for teachers as they start pre-planning for the 2018-19 school year. But Monday morning, the school system also unveiled another honor for one of its longest-serving most respected educators.

“We all need to resolve ourselves to do more things in honor of instead of in memory of,” said Randy Young, a Thomas County Central High School teacher who also was one of Delaney’s students.

The proclamation naming the gym after Delaney read that institutions honor their legacy and history by recognizing and honoring individuals who have rendered distinguished service that warrants recognition of exceptional contributions to the welfare of the institution. In the naming of a facility, the Thomas County Board of Education gives proper consideration to the history of the facility in question when the person has contributed either significantly to the mission of the facility being named or the school district as a whole.

Delaney served in the school system in a number of roles from 1969-2008. He came out of retirement to serve as dean of students in 2011. A section of the North Thomasville Bypass also has been named for him.

“He has established a legacy of orderly assemblies and orderly graduations in the gymnasium, particularly where he has joined in the fun of pep rallies and proms and the dignity of those graduations,” Young read from the proclamation.

“I just appreciate it so much,” Delaney said. “I never thought anything like this would happen. I came to work because I love coming to work. All of this is just icing on the cake. But every now and then, no matter how good the cake is, it needs some icing. And I thank you for the icing.”

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