Five faculty members bid farewell with no pomp and circumstance

Staff+members+Melvin+Bethany%2C+Eileen+Kiser%2C+Taylor+Rose%2C+Carly+Roach%2C+and+Kitty+Strong+leave+West+to+chase+different+adventures.+

Collage by: Elle Rotter

Staff members Melvin Bethany, Eileen Kiser, Taylor Rose, Carly Roach, and Kitty Strong leave West to chase different adventures.

Coach Melvin Bethany pulls together a collage of photos from his career at West. (Courtesy of Melvin Bethany )

Basketball and Football Coach Melvin Bethany is leaving to become the Activities Director at Lutheran High School in St. Charles, Mo.  

“Parkway West High helped me to the fullest by allowing me to be and accepting my style of relationship building and coaching,” Bethany said. “I’m going to miss the competition. Competing against fellow coaches and watching my teams come together and execute plays and goals.” 

Among the many things he will miss, Bethany will miss the family that is his team and team dinners that built community.

“Coaching satisfies me to help young athletes with the characteristics that may be revealed during competition. Also, coaching brings me peace and joy by being able to compete and watch young athletes not care about anything but having fun playing the game,” Bethany said. “At first I struggled, but after analyzing it I realized that being a Longhorn never comes to an end. The things I’ve learned from the amazing students and staff of West High community will be with me for life.”

After COVID-19, Bethany remains a firm believer in “control what you can control.” 

 “The only thing we can control would be us treating one another with better genuine love towards each other,” Bethany said. “We also can take from this challenging time, from the sports prospective, you truly never know what could be your last practice or last game so don’t take those things for granted.”

Eileen Kiser – Spanish Teacher

Rasing money for Friends of Kids with Cancer in May 2019, Sophomore Zoe DeYoung threw a pie at Spanish Teacher Eileen Kiser’s face, afterward’s embracing in a hug. (Kayla Ruether)

Spanish teacher Eileen Kiser’s post-retirement plans have been put on hold due to the coronavirus.

“There’s nothing normal about this ending to the year, and in no way resembles the everyday experience we have with our students,” Kiser said. 

Kiser relates her retiring experiences to the graduating class of 2020, as these teachers and seniors suffer from the loss of a celebration at the end of their school year. 

“For those of us leaving, the end seems less important right now, an overall feeling of fading away and being forgotten rather than celebrating the accomplishments with pomp and circumstance,” Kiser said. 

Kiser’s sadness is a rarity because she believes that everyday with her students was a gift. 

“I am trying to put it all in perspective and stay focused on the fact that this time is only eight weeks out of a career spanning 35 years, and that I have been incredibly lucky to have taught and learned from so many amazing Longhorns,” Kiser said. 

Teaching has always been a source of positivity for Kiser, something she has relied upon throughout her career. 

“Sometimes you just get lucky when you look back and realize that you were exactly where you were meant to be, with no regrets, just gratitude. Now, I am turning my thoughts to new outlets to point me in the direction of my next great adventure,” Kiser said. 

Carly Roach – Counselor

Counselor Carly Roach teaches Katelyn Areno’s Health class about mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Students were then instructed by Roach and fellow counselor Chris Lorenz to make a website to help students with various mental illnesses. (Morgan Eaves)

After 10 years of working as a counselor at West, Carly Roach decided to move to Parkway South High School so that as her kids grow, she can be in the same school as them. 

“I am eager to take all that I have learned at West High into my new building and hope to make a positive impact there,” Roach said. 

Choosing to leave at the end of this year, Roach is sad that the last day she got to spend with her students was March 13 before Spring Break. 

“I had a definite moment of wondering if it would be the last time I would get to stand in the halls with students at West High,” Roach said. “I very much wish I could say goodbye to all of my students, families and faculty friends.”

Roach loves many things about counseling, including seeing students develop, helping them problem solve and collaborating with colleagues on how to better help the children at school. She hopes to continue to do so as she transitions to her new school. 

Counseling others helps me have greater empathy for people and what they are going through,” Roach said. “We are all fighting personal inner struggles at different times.”

Taylor Rose – English Teacher

English Teacher Taylor Rose holds up a plaque of her Albert Award from the Parkway Alumni Association in 2019.

At the end of the school year, English teacher Taylor Rose will be moving to Kentucky, where her fiancé lives, and she plans to get her PhD in curriculum and instruction at the University of Louisville.

“You can get lost in the nitty gritty of the lesson planning, but then when you’re actually there with students and they bring so much to the table in terms of personality and good questions, it is what makes learning fun,” Rose said. “It’s just really this amazing community and it’s very easy for me to feel at home in my classroom with my students.”

After graduating from West in 2012, Rose was excited to teach here; getting her love of teaching from the women in her family. 

“A lot of the women in my family are actually teachers. So my mom, my two aunts and my grandma have all taught in some capacity. Their passion definitely rubbed off on me,” Rose said. “It definitely gives a family vibe to the community. I still remember I interviewed for my job before I was hired at West and just walked around the back of the building and watched my cousin’s baseball game and my whole family was there.” 

Even though Rose is sad to be leaving and not getting to see her students in person, she looks forward to teaching again sometime in the future. 

“Whenever a student takes the time to tell you about their life and share something with you that they think is exciting just makes the entire day better–the entire year better–and it reminds you of why you love to teach,” Rose said. 

With the abrupt ending to the year, Rose looks back at the memories she made with the students and staff at our school. 

“I am exceptionally sad that [the year] ended like this. I very selfishly feel robbed of time with my students, which is the most important part of our jobs; the kids are why we do this whole thing,” Rose said. “This [quarantine] is a big reminder that we can’t wait until the spring to have those good moments. I will miss laughing with my students all the time. I will miss hearing about their lives. Our department is also ridiculously close, we love standing in the hallway and blaring music on Fridays and carrying out those traditions.”

Kitty Strong – Building Manager 

Dressing up for spirit week is always a fun tradition that Building manager Kitty Strong enjoys.

Building Manager Kitty Strong is leaving after 10 years of working at West due her job being eliminated. 

“I loved getting dressed up [during spirit weeks] and also seeing how creative everyone was with their outfits,” Strong said. 

She also loved seeing the students and getting to help others. 

“My time at West is not ending like I would have wished it would and due to the current situation, I will not be able to see my co-workers or students before I go,” Strong said. 

Strong, among the other teachers facing the hard ending to this year without getting to say goodbye to her students.

“The end of this year is very challenging but I think it has helped many people grow in ways they didn’t realize they could, [but] I feel like my time at West will not have a proper closure because of that,” Strong said.