Joplin High and NAACP honor Marion Dial
Truth, honor, and loyalty-three words Joplin High Principal Kerry Sachetta uses to describe Marion Dial, former principal of Joplin’s all black Lincoln High School for more than three decades.
Joplin High honors Dial for his commitment to the community and students, naming its front office and counseling center after him.
“I think it’s important to all of our students first. I think they need to be able to see role models when they walk in. And understand who came before them, and from all diverse backgrounds. Especially here in Joplin,” says Principal Sachetta.
Dial was a role model for his student Jim West, now Vice President of Joplin’s NAACP. The organization paid tribute to Dial and the advancements that came with Brown versus Board of Education at its Freedom Fund Banquet.
“Wonderful man. Mr. Dial was a good man, a good teacher, a real good humanitarian. He believed in making sure that you advance, just didn’t push you around. So Mr. Dial was a real good role model for me,” says West.
West became the second black man on Joplin City Council after Dial.
“Amd without Mr. Dial leading the way, I don’t think I would’ve been there today.”
Marion Dial not only inspired Joplin leaders like Mr. West, but Joplin Schools hopes he will continue to inspire students as they walk in the front door.
The school also has an exhibit on its third floor with memorabilia and trophies from Dial’s time as head coach of the Lincoln Tigers, undefeatable Ttri-State Champions. But he didn’t just motivate athletes.
Betty Smith lived right down the street from Dial and attended Lincoln High.
“We didn’t know anything but the best, because he always went out of his way to find a way that we would not be left out. And this was during the time when segregation was at its highest,” states West
Dial helped Joplin transition into integrated schools in 1955 but continued as principal for special education at Lincoln through 1968, retiring after thirty-six years in education and making his mark on students of all races.
In Joplin, Diane Gerstenfeld, KOAM News.