“I believe in myself, I believe in my teachers,” that’s what more than 400 students at Carylwood Intermediate school spoke in unison today.
It’s from a creed former Principal Paul Ward wrote, and is now something those students and teachers in Bedford live by.
"We do it every morning…everything that he wrote in it, entails the type of person that he was and I feel that he wanted his students also have those same qualities," said Paula Koballa, teacher at Carlywood Intermediate School.
“He was like a biological dad, like he loved all the students," said Sydney Vawters, 6th grade student, Carlywood Intermediate School.
Just three weeks into the school year, she said she still senses his presence.
“It's been very difficult, walking past his office just feeling like he's still there, but you know he's not."
Leaving new principal of the fourth through sixth graders, Kenneth Elder, with big shoes to fill.
“The big shoes is one thing, but I think everyone recognizes that this is a community effort," Elder said.
He told me the first week in Ward's old office, who passed away this May from a heart attack while exercising, was a challenge.
"Paul was my friend, he was my friend too... I sat at other chairs, really sit at the desk, and after about a week I change from being kind of nervous about it. I started the school year feeling very proud to sit in this spot," he said.
Pride is what family, friends, teachers and students all showed as they gathered today for the city to unveil a street sign honoring the beloved 46-year-old.
“Words just can't even express how I feel right now, it's a tremendous honor...I think he would be in complete awe," Nicole Ward, Paul Ward's wife said.
Principal Elder told me he wants to continue Ward's impact by keeping programs like watchdog mentoring and the school creed going for future students.
"The goal is that we can feed off the neighborhood and the neighborhood can feed off of us."
Family and friends said the love and support means so much, showing that one principal can touch so many.
“Even though I have tough days, I have even better days just thinking about all the good he has accomplish and knowing that I'm going to stand strong in his memory," Mrs. Ward said.
In addition to the street sign, donations toward the Paul G. Ward scholarship fund are being accepted for graduating students in Bedford city school.