Kendrick teacher honored by Atlanta Braves

By Greg Gelpi

"To whom much is given," his voice bellowed in front of the class.

"Much is expected in return," the class responded in unison.

Lonnie White, 31, paced in front of his gifted class, his hands motioning as he spoke, as he weaved life's lessons into the academic lesson.

The day before, his face on the Jumbotron at Turner Field, White was recognized by the Atlanta Braves as part of the BellSouth/Atlanta Braves Excellence in Education Program. The program honors outstanding educators in metro Atlanta.

"I can honestly say I'm doing what I want to be doing," the Kendrick Middle School teacher said. "Every day that I have to teach is a fond memory."

Coming from a family of teachers, White said he decided in middle school that he would continue the tradition.

"Him representing Kendrick is like him representing us," Marcus Outler, 13, one of his students said.

Outler said that White is strict and holds the class to a high standard.

"He has no leniency for childish acts," he said. "He expects a lot. I feel good he's our teacher."

White said he always demands the best from his students, regardless.

"I'm extremely aggressive in my approach to the students," he said. "If I don't teach them what they need to know, I'm in trouble. I don't take it for granted that I'm a teacher."

What White describes as an "aggressive" approach to education reaches his students.

"He knows how to talk to the students," eighth-grader Vivian Stuart said. "He brings out the best in us. He gives us work that he knows will challenge us."

His passion for his teaching is evident to Lauren Langhorn, 13. She said his enthusiasm and energy even cause him to sing at times.

White talks to the students without talking down to them, Langhorn said. And he's always happy.

The impact White has on his students is coming back to him. White was honored by the Braves because of an anonymous letter written by one of his former students.

"Of all the recognitions you can get to get recognized by a student that is the greatest honor you can have," White said. "I would love to know who it was."

With the recognition, White is eligible to be selected as the Braves' Educator of the Year in September.