A Bittersweet Goodbye to Mr. Melvin

Cassidy Cimino, Assistant Editor

     It started from a book, Of Mice and Men. An English teacher at La Salle High School during the year 2000 asked one question that would transform a student’s life.

     The student answered the question correct and his teacher became ecstatic. The teacher rewarded the student with a high-five, praise, and made the student feel really good about himself.

     It was that moment when Mr. William Melvin wanted to mirror a life similar to his freshman English teacher. He wanted to make others feel as good as he did that day.

     Mr. Melvin pursued the dream by graduating from West Chester University in May 2008 with a Masters Degree in Secondary Education English. Immediately following his graduation, Mr. Melvin was hired at South the following fall.

     “My first three years, I taught nothing but tenth-grade academic and honors English. I also taught creative writing and film in my first years of teaching,” said Mr. Melvin. When the fourth year hit, he started teaching Advanced Placement Language and Composition alongside tenth-grade honors and academic English.

     During this time, Melvin also started a club called Link. It was a model based off a club in the school Downingtown West High School where Mr. Melvin student-taught.

     “We wanted to create another way for kids to be trained leaders and to help them grow,” Mr. Melvin said. “The other more important part was we thought it was a nice way to establish community and culture in a really big school.”

     After being a class advisor for five years, teaching for eight, creating Link, and impacting hundreds of students lives, Mr. Melvin realized his love for school involvement and “how much of an impact it can have”.

     “If you could build the community, help kids, and help faculty grow in a very big way, that would be pretty cool,” Mr. Melvin said. “I thought I could do that.”

     He began to work hard for the nineteen credits to get his principal certificate. He continues to do this at Delaware Valley University.

     Friday, September 23rd was Mr. Melvin’s last day teaching ever and Monday, September 26th was Mr. Melvin’s first day as a vice principal at Lenape Middle School.

     In high school, he thought that he only wanted to teach and be hands-on in the classroom. Mr. Melvin told me he “never thought about becoming a principal”.

     “You get to see people grow and change and I don’t think you get to do that in many professions,” Mr. Melvin said about teaching.

     Mr. Melvin said he has “mixed feelings” about the situation. He said he’s ready for the challenge and for the culture Lenape has to offer, but he’s also nervous.

     “But on the same emotional landscape, I feel super sad. It’s been family and home for me for a long time. I feel like I grew up as an adult here in a lot of ways,” Mr. Melvin said.

     Mr. Melvin said the hardest part about leaving is the relationships he has built the past nine years he’s been here. “What I’m going to miss most about South is just the familiarity, the culture, and the sense of camaraderie I feel like I have with the faculty and the staff,” Mr. Melvin said.

     “It’s hard to leave a place where you love and you feel the people love you back,” he added.

     Mr. Melvin also said leaving his senior forum and leaving Link is rough as well. Mr. Melvin’s senior forum will be taken over by Ms. Taylor and two history teachers at South, Mr. Balkit and Mr. Marsden, will run Link.

     “It’s in good hands,” Mr. Melvin said.

     Senior Mark Gotzman agrees with Melvin. He was in Mr. Melvin’s forum and “refused to believe it was true” when Mr. Melvin announced his leaving, but knew “his new job [was] a great opportunity for him.”

     Gotzman also said, “Ms. Taylor is great. She is very kind and outgoing.”

     On the other hand, Gotzman said it was very tough to say goodbye to Melvin that final day. “We all said our goodbyes and wished him luck,” said Gotzman.

     Along with missing his forum kids, Mr. Melvin said he’s going to miss Mr. Balkit, but will see him a lot since they are best friends.

     Mr. Melvin said he would also miss his previous mentor Mr. Crea and the people in his pod such as Ms. Resigner, Ms. Tannous, Mrs. Gilbert, Mr. Smith, Mr. Cawley, and Ms. Reilly.

     Mr. Melvin thinks it’s important for everyone to know it was not an easy decision for him.

     On the other side, he is “looking forward to a challenge” and cannot wait to see himself stretch as a leader while working with students in a different way.

     Mr. Melvin will definitely be missed at South, but he will not be forgotten by the hundreds of students and staff he has made an impact on.

     It was indeed a bittersweet goodbye, but Mr. Melvin’s legacy will carry on within South, just as he will carry South within him moving forward.