Hugs and love letters welcomed home Thursday night after a two-month absence.
Former colleagues, students and community members hugged the former math teacher and assistant principal, who left Sharon this summer, after seven years, to become Norwell High School principal.
Fish returned to receive the Sharon Education Foundation's 2011 Lee Flaxer Award.
A letter from a former Sharon High math student, who read it aloud during the festivities, especially moved him.
"I'm trying to catch my breath after Anna's letter," Fish told the audience in the ballroom.
"I have to tell you: that's the second time I've heard that letter. It gets me."
The nonprofit education foundation honored Fish during its annual opening reception.
Named for the former principal, the Flaxer award recognizes "an individual who has had an impact on the lives of children through dedication and personal involvement," according to the foundation's website.
Flaxer believed "compassion and caring were essential to a positive learning environment," foundation Co-President Kathy Hershfield said.
Fish has "an exceptional ability" to "reach a broad range of kids, she said.
Thursday night, a Sharon High student or alumnus' tribute to Fish adorned each table.
"One of the nicest guys in the world," one student wrote.
"Mr. Fish was more than a principal. He was a friend to all," said a member of the Sharon High Class of 2013.
"Greatest vice principal ever! Awesome guy, attractive, beautiful," a third student wrote.
The admiration was mutual.
"I've been able to work with some of the best students," Fish said.
"I could have never imagined the relationships that I was able to build and make with students in the role of an assistant principal. It seems counter-intuitive that we could have good, healthy relationships."
The foundation also recognized new and , each of whom spoke briefly.
Farmer called the school district "an incredible system with an incredible opportunity in front of us."
The foundation also recognized two of its grant recipients: Sharon schools' music teacher Scott Tarantino, whose students performed three marimba pieces; and district K-12 Library Coordinator Kathy Dubrovsky, who used two grants to, in total, buy Kindles for book clubs at the three elementary schools.
Foundation Co-President Dianne Needle called the marimba performances "an example of what the SEF loves to see with grants."
"Four years ago, there was nothing," she said.