Rigney was a teacher for 50 years and spent most of his career as an English teacher at Patrick County High School. He frequently told the story of accepting a job as a central office administrator in Patrick – a position he held for two weeks before asking to return to teaching because he wanted daily contact with students.
He never applied for another administrative position, and is remembered by many students as the last person they saw when they left school because he was on parking lot duty every day. As one of the sponsors of the senior class, he announced the names of the boys at the high school graduation, but it is perhaps his generosity that will be most remembered.
Rigney helped those who struggled financially buy things they needed or wanted, including class pictures, senior T-shirts, and graduation supplies. He chose a different student each day and bought their lunch as an act of kindness — because he wanted someone to feel special. Sometimes he chose a student he didn’t know.
Rigney was recognized by Newsweek magazine and received the Sallie Mae Teaching Award as one of the top 100 teachers in America. He also received letters of…