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Lottery names NHS coach, teacher a School Hero

052419 Nixon A Community of Caring

Ronald Nixon, a teacher and coach at Northeastern High School shown here Thursday, has been named one of 10 "School Heroes" across the state by the N.C. Education Lottery.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, May 24, 2019

A teacher and coach at Northeastern High School has won $10,000 for himself and another $10,000 for the school by being selected as a “school hero” by the N.C. Education Lottery.

Ronald Nixon, who also serves as head basketball coach and assistant football coach at Northeastern, said Thursday that he appreciates students, staff and members of the community who voted for him in the statewide contest, which drew more than 6,700 nominees.

Once Nixon was nominated for a School Hero award, students and community members organized a push to secure votes for him in the Education Lottery’s online contest.

“I was averaging at least 700 votes a day,” Nixon said.

Nixon said students helped spread the word about the Lottery’s School Heroes contest on social media — and their efforts were effective.

“These kids are amazing,” he said.

Nixon said he also received strong support from The Mount — the church that he attends — from his brothers in the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and from others in the community.

Judges reviewed the 200 nominations that gathered the most votes during the six-week nomination period and named 10 of them School Heroes. Nixon was the only one of the 10 from the immediate area. 

“We’re pleased to recognize these 10 School Heroes for the work they do every day in our schools to help our students achieve their dreams,” Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery, said in a statement released by his office Thursday. “While these 10 stand out, we saw more than 6,700 stories of teachers, principals, and school workers doing heroic things every day in our schools. We’re proud to put a spotlight on the work of a lot of good people in our schools.”

Nixon, an Elizabeth City native, has taught for 12 years, all of them at Northeastern. In addition to coaching basketball and football he teaches classes in weight training and advanced physical education.

Nixon’s nomination noted his involvement in the community, including providing opportunities for student-athletes to help out in community projects such as providing turkeys to families at Thanksgiving and giving bicycles away to children at Christmas. Those charitable activities are spearheaded by The Mount, and Nixon gives his church family — and God — the ultimate credit for his success in the competition.

“It’s just a gift for me from God,” Nixon said. “He’s my hero.”

Nixon also drives activity buses for the school and supervises open weight room so that students who want to lift weights can do so — both student-athletes and other students who don’t play sports but want to improve their physical fitness.

He said he also tries to be a father figure for students.

Nixon said he hasn’t decided what to do with the $10,000 he’ll be receiving for himself, other than tithing $1,000 to his church and seeking God’s guidance on what to do with the rest.

As for the $10,000 that will go to the school, he said he will discuss that with Northeastern Principal Angela Cobb and other administrators and reach a consensus on the best use of the funds.

“I’m a team player,” Nixon said.

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