• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Daniel remembered for helping students always do their best in life


“Mom for the whole school” is how longtime Woodford County High School band director Nat Carter remembers Faye Daniel. As director of the WCHS Band’s flag corps, he said Daniel always did what was best for students and went above the call of duty. Daniel expected students to go by the rules, but “everybody knew that she was looking out for you and that she loved you,” said Carter, who started working with Daniel in 1976. “They would do anything in the world for her,” he continued, “because they knew she’d do the same for them.” So students often went to Daniel whenever they needed someone to talk to about what was happening in their lives, he added. Many of Daniel’s former students are working in medical fields, according to Carter, because of what they learned in her medical sciences classes, which began as a pilot “health occupations” vocational program (the first in Kentucky) at WCHS in the 1971-72 school year. Daniel, who died May 24 at age 82, was a nurse at Woodford Memorial Hospital before starting the vocational program at WCHS. “Every clinical area that we had in Woodford County, they just opened up their arms and welcomed (our students) in,” she said during a May 2007 interview with the Sun. Former student Danielle (White) McGeorge was still trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life when she took Daniel’s medical sciences class as a junior. Going out into the community to work at Taylor Manor Nursing Home, and especially riding with the Woodford County Emergency Medical Services and working in the surgery center at Woodford Hospital (now Bluegrass Community Hospital) opened her eyes to a career she had never considered, McGeorge explained. She credits Daniel’s “nurturing nature” for giving her the confidence to not give up and a curiosity to always “want to know more.” McGeorge, who became a registered nurse and has spent the last 12 years with the Lexington VA Healthcare System, said she remembers Daniel telling her students, “You need to dress – not for the job you have, but the job you want.” Such life lessons and many others taught students what they need to do if they wanted to succeed (no matter the career), the 2002 WCHS graduate explained. She remained in touch with “Momma” Daniel, who was always there for her – even after she became a mom. “I had three mothers in my life, and she was one of them,” said Sharon Ohler, a retired Woodford County Middle School instrumental music teacher who worked with Daniel for 18 years. She credits Daniel for giving her an education in the human aspects of teaching, and said it was “such a blessing” knowing some of Daniel’s former students helped care for her own father during the last years of his life. “She’s a tremendous loss to the community, and everybody will continue to remember her,” said Carter, who will never forget a band trip to Washington, D.C., when he and former assistant director, Kevin Dennison, played a practical joke on Daniel. They arranged for an alarm at the entrance of a museum to sound off every time Daniel tried to walk through security. After being asked to remove her shoes, Carter remembers Daniel telling the security guard, “Well, I am not going to take my clothes off.” That’s one example of how close they were as educators and explains why students sometimes referred to them as “The Three Amigos,” he added. During the 2007 Sun interview, Daniel said she receives telephone calls from former students, who tell her about where they’re working. She also remembered looking up at her surgical nurse as a patient and seeing a former student looking back at her. Of her medical sciences students’ experiences in Lexington hospitals, Daniel said, “They’ve seen surgery that I’d give anything to see. They come back and say, ‘We saw an open heart (surgery) today.’ And it just fascinates me.”

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