The Office of Indian Education (OIE), Title VI Program honored Ms. Gay Lowery Mansell for her many years of service as an Academic Indian Education Tutor on Friday, December 16, 2016 with a surprise retirement social. The event was held at the Longhouse for Learning on the Educational Resource Center Campus. Upon her arrival, Ms. Mansell was greeted by family, co-workers, and a host of friends, all present to celebrate her many accomplishments.
Ms. Mansell is one of ten children. She attended Prospect Elementary School, Les Maxwell Indian School, and Douglas Byrd High School. She is a graduate of the Native American Bible College in Shannon, NC and Fayetteville Technical Community College. She also attended Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.
Ms. Mansell's lifelong commitment has always been to improve the lives of native people. Her career began as an instructor teaching GED courses at the local Indian Center. This position prepared her for the work she was eventually tapped to do as an Academic Tutor with Cumberland County Schools, Office of Indian Education. Ms. Mansell, a devout Christian, is also a Sunday School teacher and a volunteer.
After nearly 15 years with OIE, Ms. Mansell made the difficult decision to retire. While she quietly made plans to say goodbye, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina made plans to bestow upon her the highest honor granted to an American Indian. During her retirement social, Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin honored Ms. Mansell by presenting her with an Eagle Feather. A smudging ceremony and songs accompanied by the drum and flute followed the presentation.
While attending the retirement social, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina also delivered hundreds of new coats for Lumbee children and their families enrolled in the Title VI Program. Darlene Ransom, Coordinator of the Cumberland County OIE, described the coat delivery as a “gift of warmth” that “speaks volumes about the goodness of others”. The Indian Education office staff distributed the coats to students prior to the Christmas holiday.
Ms. Darlene Ransom, Chairman Harvey Godwin, Ms. Gay Lowery Mansell
Ms. Mansell Surprised by Staff
John Oxendine; Patrick Strickland; Chairman Harvey Godwin; Kaya Littleturtle; Reggie Brewer; Ms. Darlene Ransom; and Tribal Councilman William Maiden.
Staff Delivers Coats