High School Principal Works Overnight Shifts At Walmart Just To Help His Students Who He Considers His 'Grandchildren'

North Charleston High School is leaving no student behind.

Last updated on Mar 21, 2023

Henry Darby, North Charleston High School YouTube

A principal in North Charleston, South Carolina is doing more than his part to help low-income students in his high school.

In addition to acting as principal of North Charleston High School and serving on the town council, Henry Darby spends his night working in Walmart before the school bell rings. 

North Charleston High School's principal works in Walmart from 10 pm to 7 am to earn money for his students.

Darby's story first went viral in 2021 but since then his efforts to help his community have continued. Though he doesn't work in the retail giant every day, every paycheck he makes there goes directly to his students who he refers to as his "grandchildren."


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"He's ready to help anybody," one student said on NBC's "TODAY." Another said, "He's impacting the community in a very special way."

According to NBC, about 90% of the student body at North Charleston is living below the poverty line. Darby told the outlet that he knows of students who have been forced to sleep in cars or under a bridge. He became emotional as he recalled visiting one student's home and learning they were sleeping on a mattress on the floor.


The student body at North Charleston High School is predominately Black. For these teens, financial burdens often make focusing on education a challenge. 

Darby says that the only thing he asks for in return for his efforts is that his students pay it forward, as he learned to do from his mother. 

"Not only did I have to help others, I had to help others without charging them anything," he said. "From washing windows to visiting old folk's homes to cutting grass. I was not allowed to charge, I had to just give back to my community."

Darby's work prompted the retail giant to write a $50,000 check to the school, but even this generous donation can’t replace the value of educational support.


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Darby’s commitment to his students inspired the rest of his staff to begin home visits.

Teachers in the school already do online tutoring sessions after hours free of charge, but going to see children directly to check in and find out exactly what they need from their teachers will no doubt make all the difference in these high schoolers' lives. 

They are letting their students know that no one will be left behind as they take to the streets to help those struggling with their grades. 

On a Saturday morning on Jan. 30, 2021, teachers, assistant principals, and high school staff visited over 100 kids who were struggling with low grades to offer help and a friendly face in times of need. The staff was split into small groups, all wore masks and maintained social-distancing rules as they knocked on doors to connect with students and inform them of the support available to them.


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Assistant principal Tony Boyer, who coordinated the event, told students, “We just want you to know we’re here to support you. You’re part of our family.”


Over half of the school’s 800 students were attending online-only classes since early in the pandemic, so among the supplies given to students was a mobile hotspot device to support kids who don’t have access to the internet. 

In the years since the school's first viral story, Darby and his team have continued their efforts. Darby continues to serve on the city council in order to protect schools and advocate for his students.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a generalist with an interest in lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.