Celebration of Life to honor the life of late CMS principal Dr. Eric Ward

Services celebrating the life of Dr. Eric T. Ward Sr. are Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Forest Hill Church.
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 9:59 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 4:21 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A celebration of life is happening to honor the principal of Harding University High School Dr. Eric Ward who died last week.

Services celebrating the life of Dr. Eric T. Ward Sr. are Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Forest Hill Church, 7224 Park Road, Charlotte 28210 and are as follows:

  • Public viewing | 11:06 a.m.-1:06 p.m.
  • Celebration of Life | 2:06 p.m.
  • Interment | Gethsemane Memorial Gardens, Charlotte

The significance of these times being the sixth minute past each hour is because Dr. Ward was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated - founded in 1906.

High school principals and athletic directors were asked to observe a moment of silence for Dr. Ward at their football games Friday night.

WBTV had interviewed Ward over the years on various stories, including his efforts to break down language barriers in his school.

CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston provided the following statement about Dr. Ward:

“I am saddened by the passing of Dr. Eric Ward, but share the fondest of memories of him and his contributions to Harding University High school and the CMS family. We lost a great leader and person yesterday, but his legacy lives on in the staff he led and students and alumni whose lives he impacted during his nearly 25-year career in the district. Eric was revered by his students, colleagues and school partners. We will remember him for his student-centered approach to learning and passion to improve outcomes for students. We share our sympathies with Eric’s wife, Sophia, Eric’s children, Eric Jr. and Kabrea, and with Eric’s extended family and friends. The district will honor Eric’s memory by stepping up during this time of grief to support the staff and students he loved so much. The entire CMS family thanks the community for its outpouring of support and sympathy,” Winston’s statement read.

The CMAE family is mourning the loss of Principal Dr. Eric Ward, Sr., a longtime member, respected educator, and leader....

Posted by Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators - CMAE on Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A post on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators’ Facebook page said Ward worked for CMS for more than two decades.

“He was well known for his supportive leadership and his sparkling sense of humor, and he will be missed by so many,” the post stated. “Our hearts and prayers go out to Dr. Ward’s wife and children, the Harding High, Olympic, West Mecklenburg, Wilson, and Independence community, and the many people whose lives Dr. Ward touched. Rest in Peace.”

Ward served in various roles during his 24-year career with CMS. He started off as high school math teacher, later climbing the ranks as assistant principal and principal for multiple schools.

“He came in and changed the face of the school, the dynamics of the school,” said co-worker O’Bryan Williams.

Aside from Harding, Ward also worked at Independence High School, West Mecklenburg High School, Wilson Middle School, and Olympic High School of Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Advanced Manufacturing.

Besides his teaching and leadership skills, Ward’s youngest sister ShaKema Covington says he’s a family man and friend to so many people.

“He adored his wife and doted on her and loved her so much, and his children, that great father figure. That’s just who he was. He was a great person, in all entities,” Covington said.

Covington says ever since she was a little girl she called her big brother “bubby” and says he was her hero.

“Going through a personal health journey I had made a post ‘who’s gonna shave their head with me?’ He was like ‘I’m right there baby girl.’ He was ever-present,” she said.

Covington says her brother grew up in Columbus County and was “hometown famous.”

“All you have to do is make mention of his name Eric Ward and it just stands alone, you know starting here in the community,” she said.

O’Bryan Williams has worked with Ward for the last four years. He says Principal Ward would send an encouraging email every morning before the sun came up.

“It was always something inspiring, something very encouraging,” Williams said.

Other co-workers remember his sense of humor and the famous Christmas suit he wore every year around the holidays.

“It was a Christmas suit with a matching shirt, matching tie, pants, and shoes,” Williams said.

Students, alumni, co-workers and other CMS staff shared their fondest memories of Ward on social media. Williams says his legacy and impact stretched far and wide.

“His presence alone was breathtaking,” Williams said.

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