Roberts’ commitment to education earns Panola Partnership award
By Kelsey DeVazier
The recipient of the Panola Partnership’s James Hal Moore Excellence in Education Award is devoted to his community, the school district, and education.
After dedicating 38 years to South Panola High School, it’s fitting that this award was given to P.R. Roberts.
Roberts began his career in 1978 teaching chemistry. Many have heard his voice as he announces home football and baseball games, emcees numerous beauty revues, and delivers the names of students at graduation and award ceremonies.
“I love to be connected with the school,” said Roberts.
An avid member of First Baptist Church of Batesville, Roberts enjoys participating in the adult choir and directing the children’s choir.
He also enjoys spending time with his two grandsons. “We go from baseball games to all sorts of other events,” Roberts said. “I love to support them.”
Roberts’ award was named after James Hall Moore, who served on the South Panola District Board of Trustees for 42 years and was president for 16.
Moore also served as the Superintendent of Pope United Methodist Church, the ASCS County Committee, the Yocona Gin Company Board of Directors, the Panola County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, and the United Southern Bank Board of Directors, and was president of the Northwest District Livestock Association for 20 years.
“A lot of people admired and looked up to him,” said Roberts. “To receive an award in his name meant a lot to me, especially because of his status in community. He was the president of the school board when I was hired in 1978.”
As a longtime educator, Roberts has taught many students. Meredith Fleming recalled the night he received his award: “They asked everyone who had been a student of Mr. P.R. to stand up, and a ton of people stood. It was a really touching moment,” she said.
Roberts has touched the lives of many people. He has taught them many important lessons, but one of the most important lessons he has taught his students is respect.
“It’s not necessarily the subject of chemistry. It’s a simple respect for fellow students and faculty,” he said, “And the privilege to get an education. It’s something no one can ever take from you.”
“I’m no longer in the classroom, but I feel like I’m still a part of education in Panola County. I was deeply honored to receive this award,” Roberts concluded with a note of satisfaction in his voice.