Nobblitt Brings Students to Tears as he Follows his Wife to Atlanta


Catherine Smith, Staff Reporter

A heavy blow fell upon many when the news of another English teacher’s resignation was announced. The list keeps growing as four-year photojournalism teacher, Phillip Nobblitt also plans on not returning. As the year closes, there will be many sad farewells.

“I cried a lot, it was really really sad,” junior Savannah Paap said. “I’ve known him since my freshman year. He had a big impact on my high school career.”  

Nobblitt told his class he will not be returning because his wife took on a consulting job in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA. Everyone took the news differently, with reactions ranging from crying to avoidance according to Nobblitt.

“Honestly, I thought it was a joke because he told our whole class, and I was like this is stupid, he’s not leaving,” McDaniel- Neff said. “In five seconds he’s going to be like ‘Ha ha, just kidding!’ But once I realized it was real I just started crying, it was just awful.”

Nobblitt joined our community in 2015. Before, he taught English, journalism, photojournalism and creative writing at Madison County High School (MCHS) for four years. He wanted to be a teacher at a young age. However, photojournalism was not his specialty.

“I was never in a yearbook or newspaper staff even in high school,” Nobblitt said. “I’ve had no training whatsoever.”

He found an interest after being asked to take over the job during an interview at MCHS. “At that point, I wanted to start teaching so bad that I would have shown interest in being the football coach,” Nobblitt said.

Wanting to take on the challenge of producing a larger yearbook, Nobblitt accepted the job. The students agree that he created so much more than just a successful program. He made a classroom feel like a home.

“He’s just a really good person to talk to. He could tell if I was having a bad day. He’ll let me sit in his room, or he’ll talk to me, and if he knows I don’t want to talk, he’ll just sit there with me,” junior Ryan McDaniel-Neff said. “I know he deeply cares about his students.”

One of Nobblitt’s favorite memories was when former student, Katie Crofford opened the cover of the first yearbook the staff made under his facilitation. “She looked around the room, met eyes with each student who worked under her and said, ‘Guys, we did this together.’”

Nobblitt was happy to see how proud they were to call it theirs. With all the good memories also come regrets, but for Nobblitt, there are only a few. His biggest regret was not playing in the Student vs Faculty basketball game in his first year.

“It would have been nice to have embarrassed the heck out of myself four times instead of three,” Nobblitt said.

Although it is time to move on, he will be sad to leave his juniors. “The building made a big push a few years back to focus on forming healthy connections with students,” Nobblitt said. “I was always doing that, but I pushed it more with this group. I was really looking forward to working with them.”

His juniors are very disappointed to see him go but have great memories for a lifetime. “Honestly, he’s just one of the best people I’ve ever encountered,” McDaniel-Neff said. “I’m so grateful I had him for these three years.”

They all had great things to say about Nobblitt and plenty of emotion to go along with it. “He’s been a really good mentor, like a father figure,” Edmonds said. “He’s one of the most genuine teachers I’ve ever had.”

Many have voiced how hard it will be without him next year. “I was in shock. I’d always imagined that he would be there whenever I needed him,” junior Lumin Edmonds said. “It was shocking to know that he wouldn’t be there for my senior year.” Even with all the sadness, the students wish him the best of luck with his next endeavors.