Kevin McKay first stepped on campus at St. Francis as a 6 year-old first grader in 1998. As a young student, he was welcomed and nurtured by the staff and community at St. Francis. He recalls feeling a deep connection to our school and considered St. Francis School and his friends here “home.” Over the next 8 years, he grew, gained confidence, and an ability to see how his actions impact the world. Based on his experiences, it's no surprise that when asked to return as a teacher at SFA, he jumped at the opportunity.
“From the moment I walked back onto campus it felt right. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve God in this way. The kids make me feel like a superhero, and that makes me want to be my best self for them and for others. I am almost in disbelief at the blessing this experience has been,” said McKay.
One of his fondest memories was a lesson on animals that had him create a mask and then act out clues to his classmates in order to get them to guess what animal he was. Perhaps a sense of curiosity and a love of learning new things related to science began in that small lesson. He also fondly recalls Mrs. Oliver. “She taught me how to work hard, pay attention to detail, instilled the basis of my math skills, and was an excellent role model as a Catholic. I thank her for my academic success,” said Mr. McKay.
As much as Mr. McKay has been blessed by St. Francis as a student, we have been blessed by him as a teacher. As the new K-5 science teacher, he has brought excitement and new life to the curriculum. Through hands-on activities and real-world experiments, he sparks curiosity and makes science instruction something our students look forward to each week. Ask any student or teacher on campus, and they will tell you that Mr. McKay is something special.
“He's a natural teacher,” said SFA’s vice principal, Mrs. Watanabe. “He's got a very happy demeanor, and loves what he does.” Mr. McKay’s students can also agree. “I like Mr. McKay because he's silly and we do experiments with our hands,” said first-grader, Luke K.
What everyone seems to like best about Mr. McKay’s lessons is that he makes the kids feel like real scientists. He's made fake blood with first graders, engineered catapults with fourth and fifth graders, made wind powered cars with 3rd graders, made glacier slime with 5th graders, and raised live ladybugs with students in kindergarten through 2nd grade. He shown his students fire tornadoes and chemical reactions, he has demonstrated the transfer of energy using a rock and hammer, and more!
Sadly, Mr. McKay won't be at St. Francis forever. He has big plans for medical school next year. Ultimately, he wants to be a pediatrician and continue helping kids. His teaching experience at St. Francis will be a big asset to his future career. There is no doubt that his bedside manner will be fun-loving and dedicated, just like his teaching style.
“Based on the way I've seen him talking to and interacting with his students, I know that he'll be a great doctor,” said Mrs. Watanabe.
In his 8 years at St. Francis, Kevin McKay has gone from student to teacher and given back to the place that provided him with a strong sense of purpose. He has encouraged a love of science to a new generation of students. More than that, he has been an excellent role model to his pupils who look up to him as a teacher and also as someone who went to their school. Although we will miss him when he's gone, we know he will stay connected to our school and continue to make us proud.