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CMS confirms Harding University High School principal has passed away

The school system confirmed the news to WCNC Charlotte on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One local school system is remembering an administrator who recently passed away. 

A Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools spokesperson confirmed Harding University High School Principal Eric Ward passed away early on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

No other details were provided by the school system about Ward's death. 

The day after his death was announced, tributes started pouring in for Ward. Elyse Dashew, chair of the CMS Board of Education, shared her sympathies on Twitter.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators said in their own Facebook post that Ward was part of CMS for more than 20 years, and had touched many lives during his tenure. He had previously served at Olympic, West Mecklenburg, Wilson, and Independence.

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

Charlotte attorney and former judge Yolanda Trotman first met Dr. Ward when they were undergraduates, and she later partnered with his school through her non-profit iSpeak Now.

"I even remember back then he was very outgoing," Hon. Trotman said. "Great sense of humor even back then."

She said he kept that sense of humor as he became an educator.

"It was always a sense of humor that he had along with a seriousness of what he did and how he impacted people every day," Hon. Trotman said. "Your legacy doesn't necessarily have to be in your own biological children. Your legacy can live on in the other children that you touch."

At Harding University High School's varsity football game against Nation Ford on Sept. 24, Reggie Bowman sat in the stands wearing a shirt with a photo of Dr. Ward after he received his doctorate degree.

"I was very appreciative of his words and just encouragement for me to stay here and I'm glad I did," Bowman said. "We're playing with a heavy heart, but we going to try to win this game tonight for him."

A celebration of life for Dr. Ward will be held Tuesday, Sept. 28 at Forest Hill Church in Charlotte. Public viewing begins at 11:06 a.m. and the celebration of life starts at 2:06 p.m. He will be laid to rest at the Gethsemane Memorial Gardens in Charlotte.

WCNC Charlotte has reached out to CMS for more information and will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Contact Brandon Golder at bgoldner@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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