AHS auditorium named in honor of former principal Jim Braida


AMBOY - Former Amboy High School Principal Jim Braida was honored last week when the high school’s auditorium was named in his honor. About 100 friends, family and community members gathered in the AHS mall on Friday to celebrate with Braida as the sign bearing his name was unveiled outside of the auditorium entrance.

After welcoming everyone to the ceremony, District 272 Superintendent Dr. Jeff Thake explained how Braida, although retired, had assisted him when Thake came to AHS as principal in 2006 and continued to do so many other times over the years.

Thake also read from a letter written by former superintendent Dr. Don Skidmore (1972-1978) who was unable to attend. Skidmore explained that his tenure included the high school’s peak enrollment years in the early 1970s when AHS had over 540 students. “Mr. Braida was the veteran high school principal in 1972 and was a great help in teaching me how to manage a school district in a rural environment, particularly the high school,” Skidmore wrote. “He was one of the very few outstanding principals I worked with in over 25 years of serving as a superintendent. The community is very fortunate that he and Marilyn made Amboy their home for all these years. Amboy is a richer community because of all of the many things they have done to make it a better community in which to live and raise children.”

Skidmore closed his letter by saying that this is an honor Braida earned and deserves.

Braida began his teaching career in August of 1960 at Walton School. In 1963, he began teaching at Amboy High School and from 1968 through the spring of 1993, he served as principal at AHS, one of the longest-tenured principals in District 272.

School board president Nicole Jones, who also spoke at the ceremony, said she was humbled to be able to honor her former principal, Mr. Braida, calling him a pillar of the community. She explained that the idea for naming the auditorium for Braida was a request that came from a member of the community. “This is a first in the history of our district and I am proud to announce that the board of education unanimously voted and passed a resolution to fulfill such request,” Jones told the crowd.

After posting on Facebook that the district was going to honor Braida in this way, Jones noted that the post was shared over 100 times with hundreds of positive comments in support. Giving a few examples of the sentiments expressed, Jones read:

“Congratulations Mr. Braida, you have touched the hearts of so many children. You’re the best role model any parent could have for their kids.” 

“Mr. Braida thank you for leading a teaching staff that was instrumental in giving me the tools and education to succeed. Your dedication to your students will always be remembered.”

“Mr. Braida is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He did not demand respect; he just got it, congratulations.”

Jones said these comments are just a small indication of what an inspiration Braida has been to so many people and how that has changed lives. “Individuals like Mr. Braida make Amboy great,” she emphasized. “His community involvement is a reflection of his character and we all should strive for that. His dedication to the Amboy School District exemplifies why the honor is so deserved.”