“He was a mentor, a coach, and I think most importantly, a friend”: Volunteer High School principal remembered

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CHURCH HILL, Tenn. (WJHL) — Hours after Hawkins County Schools Superintendent Matthew Hixon confirmed the death of Principal Bobby Wines, Volunteer High School faculty shared their experiences with the late educator.

English teacher, softball coach, and former student of Wines’, Justin Barton, told News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant that the two grew as educators together.

“Mr. Wines was appointed to be the principal at Volunteer shortly after I was hired on,” Barton said. “We experienced a lot of firsts together. In my first year teaching here, he was way more than a boss. He was a mentor, a coach, and I think most importantly, a friend.”

Barton said that he taught Wines’ daughters, and as the principal made his way through the hallways between classes, he’d never hesitate to ask of their wellbeing.

“I cannot tell you how many times he found me in the hallways and specifically asked how they are doing,” Barton said. “He loved them — truly loved them, truly deeply. His love and his legacy will live on through them.”

Another English teacher recalled Wines’ gentle and easy-going nature after working with him for almost two decades.

“He was just always kind and funny and always there for us,” Maria Benavides said. “We could talk to him about anything…he was always there for us.”

Benavides, too, noted the love he had for his daughters.

“He was a great boss, a great principal, a great friend, and he loved his daughters very much,” Benavides said. “My prayers for to him and his family.”

According to Hawkins County Schools Superintendent Hixon, Wines’ cause of death has yet to be determined.

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