Since last year August 2020, North Charleston High School’s Principal Henry Darby has been working nights at Walmart to help raise money for low-income students and their families. Working three nights a week at the store, Derby stacks shelves from 10pm to 7am and then goes straight to his school job. The principal also works as a county councilman.
According to S.C Department of Education, almost 90 percent of North Charleston High School’s students were living in poverty last year. In a statement, Principal Henry Derby said: “I decided to get another job because the kids, they really need help.”
Hearing about his story, real estate agents Jesse Rone and Mason Wright set up a GoFundMe page to raise more money for Derby and his goal in helping low-income students at North Charleston High School. The community of Charleston hit their original goal of $20,000 in less than 48 hours. As of now, they have raised over $35,000.
Principal Henry began working five nights a week when he first got the Walmart job, but then cut down to three nights in late September 2020. Speaking about working five nights he said, “Then I realised I wasn’t as young as I used to be.”
Since his teen years, Darby has been used to working multiple jobs. Whilst he was a teacher, he also worked other jobs including a job at the airport and a glass factory.
Darby explained that he doesn’t mind when students recognise him working at Walmart, because it’s a chance for them to learn that there’s nothing wrong in working at the store. “If some of them could see that if a principal could work at Walmart, why can’t they?” the principal said.
Losing his father at the age of 3 and his mother at the age of 17, Principal Henry Derby acknowledges that his church and family helped him throughout his life.
“I can say that people really helped me to get to where I am today,” said Darby. “I wish that those of us who are born of poverty and we had to struggle and we made it to at least the lower middle class, that we will look back to help others.”