Louis Sarratt Named Boys Home Educator of the Year

Mr. Sarratt standing outside of cabinLouis Sarratt, Special Projects Manager, was named as the 2020 Educator of the Year for Boys Home of Virginia during the 42nd Annual Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Dinner at the Greenbrier on April 18, 2021. Each year, the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, in collaboration with the local school systems, recognizes outstanding educators within each school division. 

According to Boys Home Director of Education Teresa Johnson, Mr. Sarratt was chosen as the 2020 Boys Home honoree because he is an exemplary individual and educator. “He uses a variety of techniques to monitor, evaluate, and encourage student progress. He seeks assistance from the school administration to reach his students. He maintains a great rapport with students and is actively involved with school projects on campus.”

Sarratt says he was very surprised and humbled by the honor. While he doesn’t label himself a teacher, after spending just a little time with Sarratt, it’s evident that he has provided a lifetime of guidance and education to those around him.

Starting his career as a craftsman working for his father-in-law, Sarratt credits his father-in-law with the skills, knowledge, and know-how that he is now passing on to the students at Boys Home. Sarratt had a 20-year career in the United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Navy Seabees, providing instruction in carpentry and masonry. As a master mason, he taught many other young adults the craft. He also taught first-year carpenter apprentices at Norfolk Technical Center for a year.

Sarratt started at Boys Home as a full-time employee in January of 2018. Prior to becoming a full-time employee, he worked on a few remodeling projects and volunteered for a handful of mission projects for Boys Home a few years earlier.  Sarratt says he felt the calling to be more deeply immersed in Boys Home from that moment on. However, it wasn’t until October 2017 that he and Mrs. Sarratt finally made the decision to move.

“I was in charge of a few of the renovation projects and upgrades around campus when I first started,” shared Sarratt. Within the first few months, he built the stone altar and cross at the top of the Boys Home mountain. Then, he started working with the younger students on smaller craft projects. Soon, Sarratt was asked to take on more responsibilities in teaching skilled trades like carpentry and masonry to the students interested in skilled trades.

One of the biggest challenges for Sarratt has been time management. He says he has had to be very conscious of how he spends his time. “Students would come to me asking for help on a special project or class project. At first, I would tell them no because of my time constraints. But then, I started to see the look in their eyes when I would turn them away. I don’t ever want to see that look on any young man’s face again.”

The students that he is teaching now have been finishing the inside of the trades building – building interior walls and classrooms, insulating, and more. One thing that he says he wants to be sure of is that students leave Boys Home with some kind of certification. Sarratt is working on a partnership with Build Smart Institute in Roanoke to create such a pathway for students. “I want these kids to leave here with something in their hand. I want them to start in the world with a leg up or head start,” he stated.

Sarratt is very vested in the success of each of the young men at Boys Home. This year’s graduation will be particularly bittersweet for him as he has been with these students since they started high school. He is proud of their accomplishments thus far and is looking forward to their future successes. Sarratt spoke, with his eyes getting slightly misty, of one of this year’s seniors, “He was like a sponge. I couldn’t give him enough information.  And, at the end of each class on Friday, he would thank me for all that I had taught him and the other students that week.”

“It’s amazing what God can do when you let go and let Him work through you. We are here to be a positive force in the lives of these young men. We want them to leave here with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the world – to teach them the code of Boys Home – leaving here to make a good life for themselves and their families and the world a better place.”

Mr. Sarratt points to Believe sign on wall

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