Collins surprised, honored with yearbook dedication

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Coach Rodney Collins is greeted by his daughter, Shannon Dickerson, grandson Levi Dickerson, and wife, Wanda Collins, after the yearbook dedication was announced. (Photo by LEAH DAVIS, Gazebo Staff)

By LEAH DAVIS, Gazebo Staff Writer

When Stratford students and faculty gathered in the gym last week for the annual yearbook assembly, the biggest suspense was the dedication of this year’s Overlook.

The surprise went both ways, when the 2015-16 yearbook was dedicated to Coach Rodney Collins.

“It was definitely a surprise, to say the least,” he said.

The senior class votes on the dedication. Collins has had a connection with the 2016 graduating class for most of their years at Stratford. A longtime lower school P.E. coach, Collins has seen many classes pass through Stratford, including this one.

“I do know them from kindergarten through fifth grade,” he said. “But, then they grow up and the next thing I know, they’re already seniors.”

Holland Jones, a member of the yearbook staff, read the dedication at the ceremony. She said she was happy her fellow classmates selected Collins.

“It meant a lot because I really looked up to him when I was young and in preschool P.E.,’’ Jones said.

Collins was the Eagles head football coach for 21 years, serving stints from 1988-2002 and 2007-11. He won three state championships with a career record of 158-95-2. He was three-time GISA Coach of the Year and was recognized by the association twice for his “distinguished service.”

Despite having to watch them grow up so fast, Collins sends his best wishes to the 2016 graduating class.

“This senior class is a very close knit group and now they’re about to separate,’’ he said. “I hope they’ll keep in touch, look out for each other and do all the things you would hope they do.”