From January, 2010 until December of 2013, I was blessed to have my son, Kenneth, work with me at the private Christian school for which I was the administrator. He came to us in an hour of need when one of our teachers left without much notice. At the time, he was working for Chase bank in Miami, but wanted to return to Melbourne. The timing couldn’t have been better. I believe that Kenneth was much like me, having an internal desire to teach, much like a calling, and now his opportunity had arrived.
Kenneth had no formal training. He learned his classroom skills from his own experiences as a student and from observing me for many years. Despite experience, his first day was spectacular! We had prepared his students to expect someone much different than what they had been accustomed to. He did not disappoint them… or me. He immediately set before them his expectations of them with the understanding that the direction in which education starts a child will determine their future in life. Parents immediately embraced him and his methods.
Kenneth had lived in Miami on two different occasions; for two years each. He split those periods by moving to Charlotte, NC for a two year span. His first exposure to the Miami culture demonstrated that he needed to learn Spanish if he wished to effectively communicate with the locals. He did so by mostly teaching himself and getting a little help from two friends; Christian and Edite. He became very proficient. So much so that when he arrived at our school, he began teaching the students Spanish. They were so excited! Small, private schools can seldom offer a foreign language and now, Kenneth’s students were showing off a new language to their parents on a daily basis.
He spent hours every evening and weekend preparing lessons. He was very colorful with his teaching and became very proficient with his art work as he produced daily lesson demonstrations, especially in science, on his whiteboard. He loved to teach and he demanded much more than most teachers would from their students. His expectations were high and from every student, there was progress. In his first full school year of teaching, the standardized testing scores of students in his class increased as much as five grading levels. Students, whom a year before scored below grade level, found themselves performing above their current grade level, and in some cases, at post high school levels. His methods, starting with high expectations, worked and every student was better because of it. As Aristotle noted, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work”.
In his second full year at the school, he established a group of students known as Disciples in Action. The group immediately began to develop projects beneficial to the community. Some examples include providing baked goods to home bound seniors, mowing yards for the elderly, creating a memorial garden at a local retirement center, hosting tea and coffee events for retirement residents, and selling candy bars to raise travel and expense money to assist the family of one of our students suffering from a life threatening disease and required care in Gainesville, Florida. Unfortunately, our thirteen year old student succumbed to her illness and the funds were used instead to help with funeral expenses.
Kenneth enriched the lives of everyone who knew him. Evidence of that came at his funeral service with numerous friends from as far away as North Carolina in attendance. It was Kenneth’s desire to help students, both academically and spiritually.
Another project that Disciples in Action undertook was raising funds for students to attend the school whose parents could not afford the tuition. It is in his memory that Disciples in Action will continue within the home education community, spreading love and support of every kind. Further, the Kenneth M. Borst Memorial Scholarship Foundation has been established to continue his efforts to provide educational opportunities to students of all ages.
Kenneth touched the lives and hearts of all who knew him and each of his students were as special to him as his own children would have been. He continues to live in the hearts of his family, friends and students.