WACO, TEXAS (KWTX) Former Waco ISD Superintendent Marcus Nelson received a standing ovation Friday after he delivered the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. wreath-laying ceremony at the Bledsoe-Miller Community Center.
Several hundred people attended the ceremony Firday, including many elected officials, law enforcement and those from the Waco fire department.
Mayor Kyle Deaver began the ceremony by declaring Friday as Alice Cooks Pollard day.
Pollard, a civic leader and pioneer in Waco for years, passed away last year.
She was one of the first four black students to graduate from La Vega High School and was the first black female police officer on the Waco force.
She also worked for the city for 30 years and was a teacher for more than 20 years.
The biggest moment of the hour and a half service came as Dr. Marcus Nelson was called to the podium as the keynote speaker.
Nelson resigned from the WISD on March 21, 2019, 15 days after he was arrested following a traffic stop in Robertson County and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.
In his speech, he addressed the issue right from the start.
"I still feel riddled with guilt and shame for the embarrassment that my personal actions have brought to this beautiful community,” he said.
“I just want to thank this community for the opportunity to redeem myself. I won't rest, I won't rest until I make this right."
At the close of his speech. Nelson addressed a large number of junior and seniors from the Rappaport Academy who were present.
"You can do A, B, C, D and E right, but you make one mistake and you can lose that six-figure salary you can lose that house you can lose that car and you can sit and have to start over. Make good choices."
On Monday the Marlin City Council voted unanimously to hire Nelson as an education consultant.
City leaders are bringing Nelson on to help them in applying with the Texas Education Agency for a city charter school in case the state decides to shut down the Marlin Independent School District.