In an emotional plea by two Kingston High English teachers at last week’s school board meeting, the Kingston Board of Education was asked to consider naming a building at the school in memory of the late Wendell Scherer.
Teachers Christina Krzywonos and Lainie Silverberg spoke in favor of honoring Scherer by naming a building after a man they said hadn’t just positively impacted their lives as fellow educators, but also the lives of the students he taught every day.
“Wendell A. Scherer was a beloved teacher, scholar, colleague and friend to many here in the Kingston City School District,” said Krzywonos. “His former students have commented that they never watched a movie, a TV show, or looked at art the same way after having him as a teacher.”
Scherer was with the district for nearly four decades, teaching English, theater arts and mythology at Kingston High and Myron J. Michael Middle School. He passed away on Dec. 30, 2015.
“I had the privilege of being his neighbor for two years in the main building at Kingston High School,” said Krzywonos. “And while two years may not seem like a long time, I was forever changed by his encouraging words, his passion for teaching, his devotion to students, and, most of all, his laughter and spirit.”
Silverberg said she felt compelled to come before the board while the $137.5 million Kingston High School renovation was still in its early stages.
“There are so many of us here that hope his presence can live on at KHS, as he embodied the qualities of a truly wonderful person and, of course, a great teacher,” said Silverberg. “We know there is still much time left in the construction process on our campus, and with that comes the opportunity to memorialize one of the most awe-inspiring teachers our school has ever known.”
Silverberg said any of the new buildings might be suitable, or possibly the theater in the high school’s main building.
“In mythology, gods had temples and people came to honor them,” she said. “This was Mr. Scherer’s temple: Kingston High School. And we cannot think of a better way to keep his legend alive.”
Scherer’s wife, Nora Scherer, is president of the school board. Tearing up, she thanked Krzywonos and Silverberg, and paused before continuing the meeting.
While the discussion ended during the early public comment period, school officials said trustees could consider the request, at which point the district would have to review the dedication protocol.