Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New school, same feelings for Coach McKelvey

Bob McKelvey hadn't been back in a long time.

It was 2000 when he retired from Miller Elementary as a physical education teacher, and just a few years ago they'd torn down the building he'd called home for 38 years and replaced it with a more modern looking building.

"McKelvey's Mile," the homemade track he had built with former principal Chuck Banks' help, was gone.

So was the outdoor hangar, "Coach's Court."

One thing, the most important thing, hadn't changed.

The kids.

They were as enthused and filled with youth as ever Tuesday morning.

So what if they didn't know "Coach McKelvey," this 74-year-old man for whom the new park was being dedicated.

But their parents did.

"And their parents, too," said Banks, looking on during Tuesday's ceremony.

Oh, yes.

Barbara Harvey, Miller's principal for 10 years, knows it well.

"When he would call a student's home, to say the child was in trouble or needed to be congratulated, he knew the parent," said the Manatee County School Board member. "They'd been his students once, too."

A number of them were there for the ceremony.

Wouldn't miss it, said one.

Coach McKelvey's presence brought back memories of their youth.

"Good memories," said Downey Walz, a mother of five.

Their presence did the same for him.

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