Southern Guilford High School graduation 2019

Southern Guilford High School seniors wait for their diplomas during the graduation ceremony at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in June.

GREENSBORO An educational space at Southern Guilford High School has a new name: It’s now the Jay Terrell Agricultural Complex.

The Guilford County Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved a measure to name Southern’s agricultural complex for Terrell, who taught there for 30 years.

At Southern, Terrell taught agriculture and was the adviser to the school’s chapter of Future Farmers of America, now known as FFA, until he retired in 2004.

For most of his tenure at Southern Terrell also served as an assistant coach for both the football and baseball teams. He taught for two years at Dudley High School before moving to Southern.

A Guilford County native, Terrell graduated in 1972 from Guilford College and later earned a master’s degree from N.C. A&T. At Guilford, he was an all-conference catcher in baseball and was inducted into the college’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.

Among Terrell’s other accolades was a big national one: In 1996, the National Association of Agricultural Educators named Terrell its Agriscience Teacher of the Year.

In a News & Record story that same year, Terrell described himself as a “dumb ol’ ag teacher.” But others told how Terrell had embraced aquaculture, hydroponics and other high-tech approaches to teaching, producing food and solving problems.

Terrell was responsible for building much of the complex now named for him. That part of Southern’s campus has four greenhouses and a barn.

The school board received letters of support for the naming from several of Terrell’s former students and teaching colleagues at Southern. They wrote about Terrell’s dedication to the school and his students as well as his hard work to raise money for the ag program and for scholarships. Letter-writers also included a retired Southern principal, a former student who’s now a high school principal and an A&T professor who had Terrell for 10th-grade biology.

At Thursday’s school board meeting, William Harden of Pleasant Garden called Terrell a friend and mentor. He said Terrell had convinced him to stay at Southern after the death of his mother.

“I respect the man greatly,” Harden said. “This is a great way to honor him.”

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Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.

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