VAN, Texas (KLTV) - 60 years is a long time to do anything, let alone just one thing. Yet, one East Texas man has been spending all that time doing one thing — trying to make the children of his community better people.
Bill Giles is a counselor at Van High School.
“Mr. Giles is probably one of the most likable, lovable persons you’ll ever meet,” said Kelley Kellam, a counselor at Van High School. “He’s so kind, he’s so compassionate and it’s the real deal; it’s not fake. He’s just a wonderful human being that everyone loves and we’re so blessed to have him.”
Giles is retiring after sixty years at the school.
“The most important thing is that it’s enriched my life,” said Giles. “I hope I’ve helped a child when they’ve come through — one of my students. They always say if you’ve helped one student in a year you’ve been successful, and I hope that I’ve helped more.”
Giles says he feels it’s time to hang up his hat at Van High School.
“Sometimes, I think the Lord tells you when it’s time to step back, and so I’m going to step back.”
But he knows it’s going to be hard to say goodbye.
“I don’t think I really could even find words to explain to you what the school means to me or what Van means to me,” said Giles. “I have never had a day that I did not want to come to school. I can promise you I love every child that has ever gone through this school with all my heart and that’s going to be hard when you walk off.”
His current students say they’re privileged to have him around for their senior year.
“Mr. Giles is one of those people that truly cares about the people around,” said Laurentino Landaverde, a senior at Van High School. “Students and staff, but anyone within a mile radius. He finds a way to personalize himself with those people and that’s something we need more of.”
Those who have worked closest with him say they’re so thankful for that time.
“Everyday you walk into work and you see Mr. Giles’, his face just brightens up your life every day,” said Kellam. “You just know even if you come in with a bad day, he’s going to make it a good day — every day with Mr. Giles is a good day and that’s the truth.”
Although he’s sad to leave and says he’s worried about his students — he says he knows they’re in good hands.
“I love my teachers and my friends,” said Giles. “My best friend, of course, is my other counselor. I know we’ll be taken care of. I worry about the students, I want them to be happy and I know Mrs. Kellam will fill that role. I’m excited she’s here.”
In order to avoid the sad feeling he’ll get about not going back to school in August, he’s leaving in July to go to Brazil for four months to visit a former student.
He said when he returns, he’ll be eager to visit his former school.