BY CLARA VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post —
When the Chincoteague Town Council invited a local pastor to deliver the invocation at its Monday meeting, he did not know he would also become an honorary town citizen.
The Rev. William Maury Enright lives on the mainland but his impact on Chincoteague Island was clear through his 42-year teaching career.
The Chincoteague Town Council recognized the longtime Chincoteague High School English teacher as an honorary town citizen during the meeting.
“I appreciate every single thing that you’ve done for Chincoteague High School and for the kids and for this community,” Councilmember Denise Bowden said.
“This is something that’s long been overdue,” Mayor Arthur Leonard said.
Enright was born in Philadelphia, but spent most of his life in Atlantic, Wattsville, and teaching on Chincoteague Island.
He graduated from Atlantic High School and the College of William & Mary before starting his career as a teacher on the island in 1965.
“I’m so glad that I was assigned here when I began teaching,” Enright said. “I never wished I were anywhere else.”
His passion for English — which he taught juniors, seniors, and sometimes other high school grades — began with his own high-school English teacher.
“I just always wanted to be” a teacher, Enright said. “I had good teachers in school and I appreciated them.”
In his tenure at Chincoteague High School, he only moved classrooms once, he said.
His students remembered him during Monday’s meeting for his lessons in diagramming sentences and annual flower tests.
Enright retired in 2007, but returned the next year as a substitute teacher and continues to substitute at Chincoteague High School.
“Come June, he will have attended 58 straight graduations. That is amazing in any community,” said Mickey Merritt, who spoke during the meeting.
Enright lives in Atlantic and began work as a church pastor in 1981. His Sundays are full — he leads services at Pocomoke, Pittsville, and Wattsville United Methodist churches and plays the organ at Atlantic Baptist Church.
“I also want to thank you for keeping many a church door open,” Councilmember Gene Taylor said. “They have a pastor because you put the time in.”
By Enright’s estimates, he taught at least 30 students in each graduating class — over 1,000 pupils since he began teaching in 1965.
Among them are several town council members, their family members, and nearly a dozen who attended Monday’s meeting to celebrate his contributions to the island.
“I’ll never have enough good words to say about you,” Bowden said to her former teacher.
“You’re very, very appreciated on this island,” she said.