Judith Royal told a group of about 70 people Sunday that there are some children who lack the resources needed to live the best life possible. And sometimes it takes the time and commitment of strangers to make a child’s life the best it can be.
“Miracles don’t take place by themselves,” she said. “The works done by volunteers help make miracles happen.”
Attendees filled the dining area of Trinity Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon to honor Royal, who is retiring after 30 years of service to the Denton Christian Preschool.
For about 40 years, the preschool has cared for and educated young children in Denton County. And more than 1,000 3- and 4-year-olds have attended the early childhood program.
Royal spoke for only a moment after being recognized by her peers and colleagues, but several attendees had much to say about her.
Carol Hagen, Denton Area Association for the Education of Young Children representative, said Royal is known across the community for being the preschool’s director, a foster parent and a supporter of the United Way of Denton County.
Hagen announced that an award has been established in Royal’s honor and named her the first recipient. The first Judith Royal Award for outstanding service to young children in Denton County was presented to Royal, and she received a standing ovation.
“She has enriched the lives of so many children in need,” Hagen said.
Hagen said Royal and the preschool are a tremendous help to children as they move on to public schools.
“But we all benefit by living in a Denton community made stronger by Judy’s efforts,” she said.
Carmen Mitchell, who worked closely with Royal, presented her with a memory book of recollections contributed by those who have known Royal over the years.
“Don’t look at me as I hand this to you. You’re going to make me cry,” Mitchell said jokingly. “I practiced last night so I wouldn’t cry, but when I got up there I just lost it.”
The reception for Royal lasted for a couple of hours and attendees lined up for a chance to chat with the guest of honor.
A song titled “Small Things” was performed by the Carol Choir of Trinity Presbyterian Church and dedicated to Royal. The song was based on a quote by Mother Teresa, and organizers said the words provide a perfect description of Royal.
“What I do, you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful,” the quote states.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .