If anyone kicks off their retirement with a bang, it’s K.R. Scott.
After 20 years of tireless service to Mountain Pointe High School — wearing many hats such as teacher, coach, advisor and even an “academic decathlon guru” — Scott was thrown a surprise party by friends, staff and students last week.
Walking into the school’s auditorium on Wednesday afternoon, assuming he would be attending a meeting about the new Common Core Standards, Scott was brought to tears when fellow educators surprised him with a video slideshow, speeches from his co-workers, and even a proclamation from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s office naming May 1 as “K.R. Scott Day.”
Honored and utterly surprised, Scott took the stage.
“I stand here today, not for me, but for all of you,” said Scott, 54. “If I have done anything well at all, in my past 20 years, it’s because of my fellow teachers who have inspired me and have tolerated my general weirdness.”
The teacher known for his zany personality started teaching at Mountain Pointe in 1993, after teaching at Arizona State University and a career in the military where he worked in the Middle East on oil negotiations.
Due to degenerative osteoarthritis and being as he described “physically broken down,” Scott decided this year would be the year to take a breather. With the reality that he would someday need a wheelchair, Scott said he is going to work on his physical strength this year, as he plans to do a lot of travelling.
Senior Lauren McDonald, part of academic decathlon, said Scott made “such a tremendous impact” on her life and she’s sad that other students won’t be able to experience that now.
“But knowing all the work he’s put in, I’m excited that he’s finally getting his chance to do his own thing,” she said.
In his 20 years at the school, Scott coached academic decathlon, taught history, three sections of government, psychology, honors studies, established the tutoring center and gifted program, on top of starting various other clubs around the school.
“I feel sorry for the person who will try to replace you,” said Principal Bruce Kipper, during his speech.
AP U.S. History teacher Brandon Buck helped plan the surprise party, and said it would take about “five or six people to do what Scott does for the school.”
Though he admitted he could return to teaching if his health improves, Scott said “to do what I do takes a heck of a lot of energy. And I just don’t know if I have it anymore.”
Referencing the film “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” Scott said that every teacher secretly wants to walk out in the same manner, and his surprise party left him speechless.
“This, our school, is what matters, this is our heaven on earth and it has been mine for the past two decades,” he said while on stage. “So I have nothing more to say but thank you, and go Common Core Standards.”
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