BOILING SPRINGS, Pa. (WHTM) – For the last 30 years, there’s been a constant at Boiling Springs High School.
Mr. Keith Roden has been in perfect harmony with the school as a music and choir teacher, but on Thursday, he took his final bow, conducting his last performance.
Much to his surprise, around two dozen of his former students came back and showed their appreciation the only way they know how — through song.
“I feel like I pushed them hard when they were my students, which makes it even more remarkable that they came back,” Roden laughed.
They’re back in Boiling Spring High, but never far away from Mr. Roden.
“I had him from seventh grade on, and he’s the reason why I do what I do,” said Shannon Geary, Mr. Roden’s student, Class of ’98.
Geary is a choir teach now, but she’s not alone among the alumni.
“I got my undergraduate degree in music education, and now I teach at Middletown Area High School –, high school choir,” said Andrew Vensel, Mr. Roden’s student, Class of ’10.
The alumni choir’s time was limited but powerful.
“The rehearsal, here the last hour, was the one and only time we got together, but it was like riding a bicycle,” Roden said.
Although, it wasn’t just about the music for Mr. Roden.
“He takes the time. He always made sure to know his students. He would ask if something was wrong if he felt like something was off,” Geary said.
“I’m very connected to my students. I have them from grade 6 through 12, and that is a journey from a child to a young adult,” Roden said.
That journey repeated itself as the children he once had went on to have children of their own who found a home away from home in Mr. Roden’s class.
“I think, oftentimes, he spent a lot more time with his school family then his real family, and the sacrifice was not unnoticed,” Geary said.
He may have been a music teacher, but Mr. Roden’s parting words are borrowed from one of his sports heroes, Cal Ripken.
“People asked him how he wanted to be remembered, and he made the statement, ‘to be remembered at all is an honor,” Roden said.