East Orange principal celebrates 44 years shaping minds at Whitney Houston Academy

EAST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Henry Hamilton is a remarkable man and a remarkable teacher.

Hamilton is 77 years old and still goes to work every day where he taught and is the principal.

He could have retired years ago for more money than he would make working, but then he wouldn't be working.

It's the kids at Whitney Houston Academy in New Jersey that keep their principal's toes tapping.

"They keep me up," Hamilton said.

Hamilton has been an educator for nearly 57 years. 47 of them spent right there, molding minds in pre-k through 8th grades.

"There's not enough time in the day for what I need to do for my youngsters, a lot of young minds," Hamilton said.

15 years ago, he was eligible for retirement, but chose to keep working even after he was offered a buyout.

"I think the man above will let me go when it's time to leave," Hamilton said.

His former students include the late Whitney Houston and many other success stories.

Hamilton says each one is as important as the next.

"I let them know that they're valuable. I let them know that they're intelligent," Hamilton said.

He makes Houston Academy what Houston Academy is.

But he says it's the kids that give him meaning.

"I've found my niche in life. Yes, I did. I love it. Yes, I love it. And I'm proud to say that," Hamilton said.

Mr. Hamilton has been walking these hallways for so long, he knows every inch of them.

While it's true he could have retired years ago and would probably be taking home more money today, he says it's seeing the difference he's making in the lives of the children there.
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