The Journal Gazette
On Friday he conducted his annual pre-Memorial Day jazz concert, but unbeknownst to the trombone player, his audience was made up of former students and friends assembled to pay homage to the educator’s 40-year career. Former North Side students also performed.
King, 62, hasn’t decided to retire yet, but when he does he’ll have the car of his dreams to ride off into the sunset – a black Ford Mustang. The 2011 sports car was purchased by former students and friends.
King is often likened to “Mr. Holland,” the title character from a 1995 movie about a music teacher who touches the lives of hundreds of his students. King has done that, and while his life story isn’t likely to grace the big screen, there was no denying who the star was Friday.
“He’s just a great teacher. This is a chance for us to show him what he’s meant to us,” said his son, Mike, who owns an information technology company in the city. “I don’t know what it is about Mustangs, but he’s always wanted one.”
Donors contributed more than $20,000 toward the vehicle.
Former student Marcus Farr said his mentor is worth every penny.
“He’s helped so many people reach their goals,” said Farr, a music director at IPFW, Indiana Tech and North Side. “There have been so many students that have come out of his classes who have gone on to be doctors, teachers and other professionals in the area. You can’t talk to anyone without someone either knowing Mr. King or knowing someone who knows Mr. King. He’s had that kind of impact.”
Prior to Friday’s festivities, King said teaching is the only reward he’s ever worried about reaping.
“Just to see the kids grow and mature is really gratifying,” said King, who was Fort Wayne Community Schools’ Teacher of the Year last year.
“The students grow up and contribute great things to our community. It just makes you feel good.”