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Etheridge takes a school break after 20 years

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By Steve Waters

School Board of Levy County member G. Frank Etheridge was honored during Tuesday's meeting, with board members presenting him with a plaque honoring his 20 years of service.
Tuesday's meeting was Etheridge's final day meeting as a board member. He is retiring from the board at the end of his term. Etheridge, who represents Williston on the board, is also the president of Perkins State Bank in Williston.
"It's been a real pleasant experience for me," Etheridge said. "I've answered a number of questions over the years, but one I still get is 'why do you do that? Why are you on the school board?' It made all the sense in the world to me. Education has always been real close to me."
While presenting Etheridge with his plaque, school board members were unanimous in their praise for his service.
"We may not have always agreed on issues at these meetings, but I can say to the public and anyone that after these meetings are over, I've always valued his personal friendship outside school business," board member Rick Turner said.
"I'm probably going to call him and bug him a lot," said Paige Brookins, of Chiefland. "I don't want to say too much, because I'm really going to miss him."
"I've enjoyed our brief time here together, our banter back and forth ... It's been a good experience working with you," said Cameron Asbell, who represents Bronson.
Superintendent Bob Hastings also spoke highly of Etheridge while presenting him with the plaque.
"Your dedication and your concern for the students in Levy County is just unsurpassed," Hastings said. "I worked with you and for you as a principal at Williston High School, and I've respected your thoughts and guidance, and I will continue to do so. You will be missed, and your replacement will have a hard time filling your shoes."
Robert Philpot, a teacher for 36 years in Williston, is running unopposed to fill Etheridge's vacancy.
A reception honoring Etheridge is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 1 at the Williston Middle School cafeteria. The event is open to the public. Guests are asked to RSVP by Oct. 27 by calling 352-528-2941.