Last Wednesday, about 100 of Keith Perkins former and current students stuffed themselves into the George Mason Elementary School cafeteria to see their favorite band teacher off after 20 years of working in the Alexandria City Public Schools system.
Parents, teachers and students all pitched in hundreds of dollars to send Perkins off with a retirement gift.
Perkins, considered a students teacher as a well-liked coach is considered a players coach, taught at Mason and Cora Kelly throughout his tenure. Hes known for his energetic teaching style and an ability to make music fun for students.
The band teacher made his mark on students and their audience at concerts, when his students would often surprise spectators by reaching under their chairs for a hat and sunglasses that they would don for a rendition of Louie, Louie or We Will Rock You.
Perkins taught Masons beginning band program, known as The Cadets and the advanced band, perennially known as The Generals. The former Cadets and Generals who surprised him with a send-off Wednesday night did so after Perkins last concert as the bands conductor.
But Perkins was more than just a band teacher and conductor to many students, and on Tuesday, the students last day of school, he was honored with an apt duty for his years of service the school and its kids. He saw the graduating class off to middle school the last class he will send to the sixth grade so well-prepared for the next level.