Fond farewell

Eisenhower holds emotional assembly for retiring principal

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Almost every student at Eisenhower High School wore shirts honoring retiring Principal Kelly Martin on Friday and many of them asked him to sign their shirts.

“We’re going to miss you, big guy.”

At a farewell assembly Friday afternoon at Eisenhower High School, students, teachers, and staff, said their farewells, sometimes tearfully, to retiring Principal Kelly Martin.

Martin has been principal at Eisenhower for the last five years and another five-year stretch from 2004 to 2009. He was assistant principal at Warren Area High School from 1995 to 1999 and at Beaty-Warren Middle School in 2003 and 2004.

Over the years, Martin has mentored numerous assistants. Two of those are now building principals in the district and two others are central office administrators.

Nearly every student in the school was wearing a “Once a Knight, Always a Knight” T-shirt with “Mr. Martin” and the number 1 with glasses and a tie inset.

Students and staff spoke during the assembly and on a farewell video. They talked about their favorite things about Martin, gave their best impressions, and listed what they would miss about him.

“I’m going to miss every morning starting out with, ‘We’re having fun.'”

“Get to class, but don’t run in the halls.”

“The phrase ‘Big Guy’ can be applied to anything.”

“You are a role model to everyone here.”

“I know it will be difficult, but try to enjoy your time away from us.”

“He supports his staff and he supports his kids.”

“He genuinely cares for each and every one of you.”

“This place will not be the same without you.”

“You will be missed and you have left your footprints.”

“Thank you for making our school such an amazing place to be.”

“We have a great school and that comes from the top down.”

Dozens of students lined up to say their farewells when the assembly was dismissed.

They hugged him, shook his hand, and had their pictures taken with him.

Officially, Martin will still be working for the district through the end of June, but his last day on the job was Friday.

Assistant Principal Ericka Alm will take over as principal for the rest of the school year with Delores Berry becoming assistant principal.

“It’s a great place to come into,” Alm said. “Mr. Martin has really laid the foundation.”

“There is an excellent faculty here,” Alm said. “There are excellent students here.”

“There will be a large void, but I will know we will work hard,” she said. “I feel my success is because of him. He’s been an excellent friend and mentor.”

“Thank you all,” Martin said. “It has been my pleasure. Eisenhower is the best because of all of you.”