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Track dedicated to longtime coach
by Ericka Birdsong
ebirdsong@neighbornewspapers.com
June 05, 2013 09:32 AM | 968 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mount Carmel Elementary School teacher Chris Watts and wife, Ginny Watts, stand by the sign of the school’s newly dedicated track.
Mount Carmel Elementary School teacher Chris Watts and wife, Ginny Watts, stand by the sign of the school’s newly dedicated track.
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The Parent Teacher Association of Mount Carmel Elementary School last week dedicated the school’s new track to longtime physical education teacher Chris Watts.

The track is approximately 400 meters, the same length of a high school track.

Watts has been a teacher at Mount Carmel for 33 years and was named school-level teacher of the year in 1993 and 1994.

Watts also has coached football, tennis and soccer for 29 years at Turner Middle School, Lithia Springs High, Douglas County High, and most recently, Landmark Christian School and Chapel Hill High.

As the head girls’ soccer coach at Chapel Hill this season, Watts led the team to the Elite Eight – quarterfinals — of the Class AAA State Playoffs.

“I’ve always had principals that have been good to me and allowed me to juggle back and forth,” Watts said.

According to PTA President Melanie Elrod, the track has been in the making for two years and they had to keep it a secret from Watts until the dedication.

On May 28, the entire school gathered outside to reveal the name of the new track and finally make Watts aware of their secret.

After a speech by Principal John McGill, Watts joined McGill in the unveiling of the sign and the ribbon cutting.

“It’s very humbling. I wasn’t expecting it. I figured it would just be called ‘Mt. Carmel track.’ I had no idea,” said Watts.

Watts admitted that he was suspicious prior to the dedication when he saw several students walking through the halls wearing his “jersey” — a T-shirt made for the track dedication which read “Watts 01” on the back.

The suspicion grew when Watts was told he had “special guests” and found them to be his wife and four daughters.

As Watts prepared to cut the ribbon, the entire fifth-grade class lined up behind him to join him in the first walk around “Watts Track,” with each class filing in behind.

During the dedication Watts said this past school year was his last as a coach and he will dedicate his last years to solely being a teacher.

“I just need to refocus. I’ve coached a long time and I feel like I need to slow down,” Watts said.
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