The first thing Linda Williams will say to you is, “It’s not about me.” For someone who likes to stay out of the lime light, Williams is often the very person who should receive acknowledgement for successful programs in the Hoover community. Instead she steps back and lets the light shine for others equally as deserving.
Williams was hired part time in 1973 and headed up the Community Education Program for the Bluff Park area (not then a part of Hoover). One of the first projects the group took on was going block to block raising money to get gyms for (what is now the over the mountain schools)
Mrs. Williams is a big believer in community education programs and this is why. “We spend a lot of money building theses buildings, “ She said. “Why do you lock the doors at 3 o’clock?” there is always time to teach and learn even after the regular school children go home. Community Education believes in the lights being on at night because learning is a lifetime process, from birth till you pass on. ”
One of the first classes offered was square dancing because it was a group activity for senior citizens who had nowhere else to go at the time.
Classes expanded to interior design, flower arranging, computers, and finance planning.
When Hoover because its own school system Mrs. Williams became the Director of Community Education for all of the Hoover City Schools. At one point she had 60 classes going on in the system. Everything from art to GED.
“We encompassed the whole community, the church, the city and the taxpayers who no longer had children in school to become a family and a stronger community together for our future and our children’s’ future“ Williams said.
. Community events also started to be held at Bluff Park Community School and they are currently held there today. Daycare, Neighborhood Watch Meetings, School Zoning meetings are a few examples. The first Bluffparkal.org meeting was held at the school!
Today Community Education is gone in other schools with other community centers opening and city centers, but until a few years ago, it was still offered at Bluff Park Community School. As retirement got closer last year for Mrs. Williams, the classes offered slacked off. Groups still meeting or using the school were still able to do so. The Hoover Art Alliance, Gemology Club, a radio club still use the building along with a clay sculpture studio and the Girl Scouts. The Hoover Historical Society is still housed in the old school along with their Society Library. The Soon-Box Lee Sellers Art Gallery is also still in the school.
After retirement there was some question and rumor surrounding the school and what to do with it. Mrs. Williams came back as a volunteer and consultant to the Superintendent to formulate a new plan for the historic site.
“We are now working on bigger and better things for the Bluff Park Community School building,” Williams told Bluffparkal.org by phone. Mrs. Williams along with the Fine Arts Director of Hoover City Schools and a committee have submitted a finalized proposal to create a fine arts program at Bluff Park School for the community. The program is to be called Artists on the Bluff. As a closing remark Williams said, “I think Bluff Park will be pleased.”
We will have more on the Artists on the Bluff proposal in the next few weeks. Please check back for updates as they are made available to Bluffparkal.org
“Community Education has been a component that embraced the
community for us all to work together for the betterment of the
community, city and schools. There is a warmth here in this building
that binds people in this community who would otherwise not
participate,” - Linda Williams
here for a slide show of the Community School
Please read the captions of the photos from interesting information and facts!
Bluff Park School on the Historical Marker Database
Bluffparkal.org exclusive interview with Linda Williams and personal tour.