Wabash students honor longtime volunteer

By Joseph Slacian

Kirk Short began volunteering at O.J. Neighbours Elementary School when his daughter, Olivia, was in kindergarten.

A decade later, Olivia is now in ninth grade. For several days a week, Short can still be found at Neighbours, helping with Kristi Clark’s first grade class.

On Tuesday, Clark gathered about 160 students – ranging from freshmen at Wabash High School to first graders at Neighbours – in the elementary school’s gymnasium to surprise Short and thank him for all his efforts over the years.

“These are 160 kids that are still in the Wabash City Schools system that you have helped,” Clark told Short, pointing to the youngsters seated in the school’s bleachers. “These are all the students from the past 10 years. We started with the 2008 kindergarten class, all the way up to the 2018 first graders.
“What a joy and honor it’s been for you to be in my classroom.”

Clark said it was a joy for Short to see the youngsters, but also for her to see many of her former students gathered together.

She said she likes to have parents volunteer to come into her classroom, and gladly accepted Short’s request to do so.

“That’s turned into 10 years of Mr. Short coming in at least two to three days a week,” she continued. “He likes coming in because he likes getting to know all you kids.”

The students presented him a box of letters for him to read, describing how he touched their lives.

He also received a painting of a heart, made up of the thumbprints of the students present. The painting reads “You’ve touched our lives – O.J. Neigbours Elementary 2008-2018.”

Short said he was surprised and appreciative of the honor bestowed upon him by Clark and the students.

Among those in the audience were Short’s daughter, Olivia, his wife, Jody, and his mother, Marcia.

Olivia said she enjoyed the time her father spent in her class, and was happy to see him continuing to volunteer.

Posted on 2018 Apr 24