Florida Panhandle Technical College (FPTC) retirees recently met at The Oaks Restaurant in Marianna to honor Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Saunders.
Wayne Saunders was hired in 1966 as the first director of what was then the Washington-Holmes Area Vocational Technical Center, later known as Washington-Holmes Technical Center, and now Florida Panhandle Technical College. He served in that capacity for over 20 years.
Saunders was responsible for hiring the majority of these retirees and providing all that was needed to support their programs and foster their careers. These retirees represented administration, guidance, office staff, adult education, nursing, office education, carpentry, cosmetology, truck driving, horticulture, auto mechanics, drafting, heavy equipment, marketing, and distributive cooperative education (DCT). Many expressed their heartfelt appreciation to the Saunders and shared numerous fond memories of students, coworkers, challenges, and accomplishments.
The first classes of the technical center started in 1967 in temporary, rented facilities in Chipley. Three of the original faculty members were present: Wayne Saunders, Director; Vernice Turner, Cosmetology; and Ralph Ray, Vocational Office Education. In 1968, Carolyn Saunders joined the faculty and started the Adult Education program for Washington and Holmes Counties.
Wayne Saunders came to Chipley with 12 years of experience in education. After his 20-plus years as director of the technical center, he and Carolyn continued to be involved in educational endeavors state-wide. Wayne has served as a Washington County School Board member for the last 12 years and has chosen not to run for re-election. He will be leaving the School Board in November. However, he and Carolyn are committed to the Washington County School System and intend to continue to support the schools and students of Washington County.