The Farewell Tour 2016 at South Keller Intermediate School ended earlier this month to make way for the Keller Center for Advanced Learning, a career training facility for high school students.
More than a few tears were shed on June 3, the last day of school, at the “Super-Sized Send off” for students and on the following day when SKI staff members held their final faculty meeting.
To make the last year super special, Principal Trish McKeel formed a staff transition team.
“We approached it as an entire year of doing as many things as we could to honor the memories and go out with a bang,” McKeel said.
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Among the events and activities included this year were:
- All teachers and students received a “SKI: The Farewell Tour 2016” T-shirt
- School hosted former administators and teachers for a homecoming/family reunion
- The yearbook documented the 15-year history of the campus
- A year-end party for students made possible with parent donations
- Teachers received a piece of the stage floor engraved with “South Keller Intermediate School 2001-2016”
McKeel said despite the year full of construction challenges, she will remember it as one of her favorites in her career.
Like a family
Nine teachers have stayed at SKI since it opened in 2001.
Kerri Kirk, a reading intervention specialist who opened and closed the school will be at Hillwood Middle School next year. “It’s like a family,” she said. “It is really hard to leave. I’ve cried, but there are good things coming.”
Debbie Smythe, another 15-year SKI veteran, said the end of the line for the school was “bittersweet.” She would miss SKI but was pleased the district would have a career and technical education center. Next year, she will follow her students up the hill to Indian Springs Middle School.
“In 15 years I never once thought about leaving,” Smythe said. “It never occurred to me to find another job, and I think that tells you that this has been a special place.”
By the numbers
11,662: The number of students who have attended the school since 2001
9: The number of teachers who have stayed at SKI for 15 years
5: The number of principals in the school’s history