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Spotlight - Glen Prince

1. Tell us about your early days in BC.

My early days at BC were the usual except for my being voted king of the school in the first grade.  Linda Kay Harrington was the queen.  We were dressed up and taken around the school to other classrooms where votes were then cast by students and I suppose teachers.  It was a fun time; my brother Ervin was one of the performers who "entertained" us.  I often tell people I was demoted back to a Prince after the event.  I was in Mrs. Ashurst's class.  I remember our room was the first room on the right when you entered the old elementary school, which became Bridge City Junior High, from the north end of the building.

I wasn't always the most cooperative student though.  I often tell students about my cocky attitude and my willingness to tell people exactly what I thought.  Especially when it came to Mrs. Crawford's Algebra I class.  One day I told her I didn't know why we had to learn Algebra--it was stupid and we would never use it in real life.  Mrs. Crawford had me stand outside and the principal, Mr. Bankston came by and asked me why I was outside.  Cocky little Glen told him exactly what I had said to Mrs. Crawford.  Mr. Bankston invited me to his office where after three pops I was convinced of the propriety of keeping my thoughts to myself.

I use such stories often to let kids know things are the same in a lot of ways as they were when I was a student.  Of course, I add the story about walking to school everyday, I lived next door to Hopper Lumber, and going home for lunch most every day.  They wouldn't believe it if I said ten miles in the snow--first of all it never snows and secondly ten miles would put me in either Port Arthur or Little Cypress!!

2.  Your most memorable moment at BCHS as a student in the 1960s is...

My most memorable moment at BCHS is, unfortunately, during my 9th grade year at homecoming when Harlis McDonald was killed as a result of an accident while collecting wood for the bonfire.  I still remember my thoughts as I sat in class the next day--wanting so badly to be anywhere but in school, mourning my friend's death, and thinking the school faculty and administration just didn't get it!  I have learned that being in school, back at my routine, is the best thing they could have done.  It helps one move through the grief process and I have encouraged students and parents to do the same when they lose someone they love.  A number of my classmates have died since then, but Harlis was the one whose death changed my view of the world and I managed to grow through the experience.  I know when I see his sister Debbie Breaux the memories return, and it seems like just yesterday Harlis was playing basketball with us, but I learned that death is part of life and we must cherish every moment and be careful of how we treat everyone so we will have no regrets should they be suddenly taken from us.

3.  How have things changed in BC?

Things have changed in BC in some ways and in some ways they have stayed the same.  The new high school is the most obvious change and it is a positive one.  When I tell kids we used to have a movie theatre, they are shocked.  Texas Avenue wasn't always six lanes.  The old Burger Town was the place to get the best shrimp burgers, onion rings and pineapple shakes.  The new one is pretty good but it's so far out of town.  We students used to love to walk to Burger Town either for lunch or after school.  No more rivalry with the West Orange Chiefs--our most hated opponents.  No more Ray Tweedel's feed store which reminds me of another story.  After I was married, we lived in a house on West Roundbunch Road and had a black lab that liked to follow us when we went for bike rides. She was a young pup and didn't fear cars, so we left her in the back yard during one trip to my mom and dad's house.  On our return home, we saw she had gotten out of the yard and she spotted us across the street.  She darted out in front of a Mustang and it hit her, so we picked her up and since Ray Tweedel was the closest thing to a vet in BC, we brought her there to be checked out.  He looked her over and said she should be fine.  I asked him why was she moaning then?  In his own special way, he gave me a funny look and said, "she just got hit by a car; you would be moaning, too!"  Shows we don't always think clearly when we are upset. Some of those changes are things I wish our kids could have experienced.

4. What led you into the Air Force

I went into the Air Force after graduating from Lamar with a degree in marketing and working for a year in sales.  I had been married to Diane Mathews, St Mary's High School in Orange class of 1965, in 1969 and she asked me to turn down a pilot training slot when I graduated in 1970 which I did.  I wasn't sure about an Air Force career, even though my brother Ervin was enjoying his Air Force experience.  I decided, in 1971, that I needed to get away from the Golden Triangle if I was ever going to have a real career.   

5.  Explain what you did and where you traveled.

In 1971, I went back to the same Air Force recruiter and he was shocked to see me.  I passed another physical but once you turn down pilot training, they don't offer it again.  So, in 1972, I went to Navigator training at Mather AFB, in the Sacramento, California area,after completing Officer Training School in San Antonio. ( I spent 10 of my 20 military years in Northern California. )  We were two young kids striking out into a new exciting time of our lives.  Neither of us knew what was in store for us.  I had never been in any state but Texas or Louisiana, so I couldn't wait to see the mountains!  When we saw our first mountains in New Mexico and Arizona we were so excited!  Little did we know we would see real mountains (the Rockies and the Alps) later.  After graduating from Undergraduate Navigator Training, I stayed at Mather AFB to specialize in Electronic Warfare.  After graduating from Electronic Warfare Officer Training(EWOT), I was assigned to the 343rd Bomb Wing at Blytheville AFB, Arkansas (everyone there called it Hooterville Air Patch) as a B-52 Electronic Warfare Officer.  The Viet Nam War was still going when I joined the Air Force, but by the time I finished EWOT and got "checked out" in B-52's the war was winding down.  My job was to protect the B-52 from enemy weapons by jamming their radars and providing warning to the crew of attack, hopefully not in that order but rather simultaneously.  We were still training for missions in the Viet Nam theatre and I was deployed to Guam and Thailand where we practiced for possible missions.  Upon returning from that temporary duty, I became the Squadron Electronic Warfare Officer(EWO) and was tasked with training new EWO's to do their job.  Part of the B-52 mission entails low altitude flight and that did not agree with me.  No windows and a very bumpy ride equals one airsick Glen Prince, so, after the required two years and 500 + hours in the B-52, I worked an assignment back to Mather AFB as an Instructor in the Electronic Warfare Training Squadron.  I was there for four years and became a platform instructor and a simulator instructor as well as an airborne instructor.  It was there that I began to love teaching.  I was able to teach U.S. and NATO officers about Electronic Warfare and loved every minute of it.  I also completed my Masters of Business Administration(MBA) in Management through Golden Gate University's Mather AFB extension.  I had started my MBA at the University of Arkansas while at Blytheville.

From Mather AFB, I went to Offutt AFB, in Omaha, Nebraska, where I became a Reconnaissance Raven in the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.  I flew on the RC-135 aircraft with the highest level clearance available in the military.  Our missions were highly classified and took us all over the world.  I saw a lot of Europe and the Orient in my time there.  This was the best flying job I had.  Most every mission was an operational mission rather than training for a nuclear mission everyone hoped we would never have to fly in B-52s.  The clearance I secured when assigned to the RC-135 opened doors for future assignments.  Mrs. Van Breeman, my old Business Machines and Typing teacher at BCHS, was one of the people I always listed on my clearance paperwork.

From Offutt AFB, I received an Education with Industry assignment.  Education with Industry is a program where military personnel are sent to private companies in various parts of the country for training in various jobs.  I chose to train at AVCO Systems Division in Wilmington, Massachusetts, to be a contracting officer.  I spent a year there and followed that with an assignment to Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts as a Contracting Officer.  Hanscom is between Lexington and Concord so you history buffs would have been in Revolutionary War heaven!!  It was a beautiful place to live and a very rewarding three years.  I worked highly classified programs there and enjoyed every minute.

From Hanscom AFB, I went to Hellenikon Air Base, Greece, as the Regional Contracting Commander.  I had offices at Hellenikon, just outside Athens, and at Iraklion Air Base on the island of Crete.  We did all contracting to support U.S. Army and Air Force personnel there.  This was the only overseas permanent duty assignment Diane and I had and it really made us appreciate the United States.  Everyone should spend a year or two living outside the USA and they would appreciate it more.

Our final military assignment was to Beale AFB, California where I worked with the SR-71 and U-2/TR-1 programs as a Defensive Systems Staff Officer.  That means I trained the crewmembers on those airplanes to use their defensive systems to protect them.  I also wrote the U-2/TR-1 Defensive Systems Manual for Operation Desert Storm.  Working with these crewmembers and living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California while I was doing it, made this a most enjoyable way to finish my Air Force career.

6. You have several degrees and specialties. Explain.

I got my BBA in Marketing from Lamar State College of Technology in 1970; my MBA in Management from Golden Gate University in 1978.  I got my Masters of Education in Counseling and Development from Lamar University in 1996.

7. Why counseling?

I chose counseling after much prayer.  I always wanted to come back to BCHS as a way of giving back to my hometown, but I was drawn to counseling rather than the teaching aspect.  When I was asked what my plans were after the Air Force at my retirement ceremony, I told them I wanted to teach in a Christian school and become a Christian Marriage Counselor.  While working on my MEd at Lamar, I took a counseling class from Madeline Alford which changed my focus.  She was prophetic in that she said I was destined to work with what we call At-Risk youth.  I didn't believe her when she said it, but ended up doing just that.  I went from working in an Early Childhood school to an alternative school where I tried to help some pretty tough kids.  I went from there, out of the school counseling business, into a job counseling foster children.  I spent three years doing that and then decided it was time to go another direction.  I had received my Licensed Professional Counselor certification earlier and always wanted to see if I could make it on my own, so I did that until I got the call about the BCHS Counselor position I had always wanted.  That's how I got here.

8.  What is the most rewarding part of your job?

My greatest reward is helping kids get a perspective on life that allows them to make the right choices.  I am an encourager and I find that everyone needs encouragement in some form.  Being able to help the kids and grandkids of my friends/classmates is especially rewarding.

9. What is the most challenging?

My greatest challenge has been remembering that I can't save everyone.  Ultimately, counselors can only do so much--it's up to the counselee to do their part.  If they choose wrongly, that doesn't make the counselor a failure, but it's still hard to accept.

10. You work with a lot of students. Any advice to parents about raising kids?

My advice to parents raising kids is always be involved in their life--that's the surest way to show them you love them.  The hardest thing for a parent to do is choose when to start letting their child make their own decisions and where to limit those decisions.  Children need your help making educational decisions.  I often tell people that the reason the US leads the world in education in the early grades is because of parental involvement. For some reason, that involvement stops when the child reaches junior high and high school.  Those students who are most successful in high school have involved parents all the way to graduation.  Those parents help the students by supporting them through the process of selecting an avocation and then finding a way to prepare for the future.  Also, parents have to be involved in their child's life outside of school and they must maintain consistent discipline.  I know that these are two very difficult demands on one's parenting skills, but they will pay dividends in the end.  Finally, this is Glen's philosophy of education--parents, not schools, are responsible for their child's education.  By that I mean, the parent gives the school the authority to educate their child and they should hold the school accountable, but the worst mistake a parent can make is to allow the child to pit them against the school or as I often say to "divide and conquer."  We all know that kids will do the same between the father and the mother.  When we were growing up, we seldom "lied" to our parents to keep from getting in trouble--we often only told them part of the truth.  Kids do the same today.  We all want to trust our kids, and we should be able to, but all to often I see the embarassed look on the parent's face when they hear the rest of the story during a parent-teacher conference.  I've told many people (students included) that the best thing my parents ever told me was "if you get into any trouble at school, you better find a way of getting yourself out of it, because we are not going to solve your problems at school for you."  I learned to deal with students and school officials because I knew I had to. There is no "cookie cutter" answer to how to best parent your child and we all know that. Now I know that my parents would have come to my defense had there been any serious problems that truly needed their attention, and they supported me by giving advice where needed and by helping me prepare for my future.  They probably should have attended more open houses to "check up on things" and communicated with my teachers more, but lucky for them and me that wasn't really a necessity because they chose to challenge me to be the best that I could be instead and that worked for me.

11.  Advice to students about their future?

The best advice I have for kids involves values.  Choose your friends well--you're going to be like them.  The older you get, the smarter your parents are going to be.  Figure out what you want people to say about you 10 years from now, make a ten year plan and go about creating that person. When that plan is completed, create another.  Money does not equal happiness.  Don't just pursue a career because it pays a lot; find something you have a passion for and go for it--you'll be so much happier in the end.

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