Early community continues with plan to honor former teacher Keith Taylor
EARLY — The Early community continues to show its high regard for educator Keith Taylor, who died of cancer in June at age 65.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bob Mangrum proclaimed May 4 as Teacher Appreciation Day in honor of Taylor, who taught in the Early school district and was heavily involved in the community.
That’s also the day a life-sized sculpture of a telescope, which is being made by welder Josh Daignault, will be unveiled near the entrance to Early ISD and dedicated.
The telescope is significant because Taylor, who retired from his job as a fourth-grade science teacher at Early Elementary School in 2016, loved teaching the phases of the moon and astronomy.
Early High School students who are part of a group known as Early Community Problem Solvers came up with the idea for the memorial and worked to raise funds to make it possible. The students raised just over $1,000 and will enter their project in state competition next week.
Taylor kept working as a substitute teacher and remained in contact — and continued to make an impact — with students following his retirement, according to students in the problem-solving group and their coach, Diann Biddle.
Taylor was part of not only the Early ISD family but the entire community, the students said. He taught robotics and 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 everything in every way,” Biddle said.
The students decided on the memorial because the community didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to Taylor after his death because of COVID restrictions. Their desire was to involve the community in creating a memorial to honor his legacy, the students said.
Biddle noted that May 4 — the day the telescope will be dedicated — is part of Teacher Appreciation Week.
“All teachers need to be recognized for their outstanding job and their dedication to students,” Biddle said.
She said she is extremely proud of the students in the problem-solving group.
“They have put their whole heart and soul into this,” Biddle said.