Early students working to honor teacher's legacy

Steve Nash / Brownwood Bulletin
Early Problem Solvers include: table in foreground, from left, Tristin Rasor, Andie Tidwell, Sidney Becktold, Calvin Clubb; back, from left,  Asher Callaway, Korbin Barr, 
Cooper Neel, Ty McConn, Aaron Callaway, Seth LaRue.

EARLY — Early High School students who are part of a group known as Early Community Problem Solvers are working to honor the memory of a beloved teacher who died earlier this year.

Keith Taylor died of cancer in June at age 65. The community was not able to say goodbye because of COVID restrictions, the students explained as they gathered in the high school’s library Thursday afternoon.

The students were accompanied by Diann Biddle, who is the coach of the Early Problem Solvers.

The small group of students has taken on a big project: seeking the community’s input on what a memorial in Taylor’s honor should look like and where it should be located — and raising the $2,000 to $3,000 the memorial is expected to cost.

The students are seeking opinions for the memorial as well as the community’s of Taylor, who retired from his job as a fourth-grade science teacher in 2016. Taylor kept working as a substitute teacher and remained in contact — and continued to make an impact — with students following his retirement. A link on the Early ISD's website contains a link to an online sur

Taylor was part of not only the Early ISD family but the entire community, the students said. He taught robotics other extracurricular subjects, and was involved in numerous other activities including helping with musicals, driving school buses, participating in the Lyric Theatre and teaching at Cross Classical Academy. Taylor was also a big part of Early First Baptist Church, the students explained.

“He contributed to every thing in every way,” Biddle said.”

While nothing has been decided, concepts for the memorial include having a replica of a telescope built.

Junior Sidney Becktold explained the students’ project.

“This year we decided to do a memorial for Mr. Taylor,” Becktold said. “He sadly passed away during the summer due to cancer and no one had the chance to say goodbye. To honor his memory and all that he did for Early High School and the community in general, we wanted to involve the community in creating a memorial to honor his legacy.”

Freshman Tristin Rasor said Taylor was a teacher who “really made you think a lot.”

Andie Tidwell, also a freshman, recalled being an intern at Howard Payune University’s Summer Scholar’s program and seeing how Taylor interacted with children as he taught them robotics.

“As soon as he started teaching the second and third graders that I was helping out with, I could tell he was one of those teachers that makes an impact on a lot of people,” Tidwell recalled.

Senior Aaron Callaway said Taylor “was very committed to what we did here. He really was committed to the students and so everything he did was to benefit them. He was very energetic and outgoing.”