No causeway connected Brunswick and St. Simons. The Great Depression took its toll on families and businesses. Liberty ships came together in local harbors, and the work opportunity made Brunswick’s population swell to 16,000.
This was the world in which the iconic Jane Macon lived as she molded the minds of Glynn County’s students. Macon, who stood more than 6 feet tall and famously walked everywhere she went, is a local legend who taught for 54 years in Glynn County Schools, nearly 50 of which was at Glynn Academy.
Her memory rests permanently in the tall, sturdy walls of Jane Macon Middle School, which celebrated the school’s 60th anniversary at an event Thursday.
“Her passion for literature and learning was evident in all she did,” said Leslie Forcina, principal at Jane Macon Middle School. “Once she was asked about her personal life, and she said ‘I’m married to Glynn Academy.’”
When the county established Jane Macon Junior High in 1958, Macon was honored as the school’s namesake. In 1975, the school became a traditional middle school that served sixth- through eighth-graders. Today, the school serves 810 students in a facility built in 2008.
Macon died in 1977 at the age of 95. But her legacy lives on in the Golden Isles, and speakers during the ceremony Thursday shared many stories about her. Students also performed.
Throughout the school’s halls, old yearbooks were displayed along with other old school paraphernalia, including a blanket stitched together from years-worth of old school t-shirts.
Dawne Hudson, who served for 12 years as principal at Jane Macon, starting in 1987, said Macon was known to wear long dark dresses almost daily that fell beneath her knees with stockings and a garter.
“She kept the key to her classroom tucked in her garter,” Hudson said. “And very guardedly, she would have to reach down under her dress and get the key and get back in the classroom.”
Macon was well-read — she read five newspapers daily — and well-educated. She taught thousands of students, as well as the children and grandchildren of her students.
“When county commissioners were naming the streets of Brunswick, the street signs were often misspelled,” Hudson said. “So Ms. Macon, who taught most of them English, didn’t hesitate to call each commissioner and tell them about the mistakes.”
When Macon retired, her students collected $2,400 to send her to England, so she could visit the homes of Shakespeare and other authors she’d loved throughout her life.
And 60 years later, the community on which she left her mark continues to celebrate her legacy and the school that bears her name.
“We gather today to celebrate a milestone of Jane Macon turning 60,” Hudson said. “May she have many more birthdays, and may the Jane Macon Eagles continue to soar and Ms. Jane Macon continue to be proud of her namesake.”