Math teacher Aaron Key is a PHS graduate of the class of 2013. Key’s memories from PHS were too positive for him to leave forever. Therefore, he came back to make more memories, but as a teacher instead of a student this time.
When looking back, he thinks of some of his most memorable times, including graduating in the top five of his class. Academics were very important to Key, and it was the thing he took the most pride in as a student. He always put his academic responsibilities before anything else. One of the classes he enjoyed most was U.S. history with history teacher Chris Lindley.
“I loved getting to learn about what happened in our country over the years. I really liked the time period during the Oregon Trail. Mr. Lindley would also dress up occasionally, which also made the lessons we were learning engaging,“ said Key.
Although it wasn’t his favorite class, Key found he excelled at math. He continued to improve through high school and put his skills to work by becoming a math teacher.
Reflecting more into his high school career, Key was basketball player for head coach Dusty Cole all four years. From sophomore to senior year, he was a football player for former head coach Brian Balsmeyer. Key enjoyed the experiences of playing for both coaches.
“Both my football and basketball coaches really influenced me in a positive way. They demanded the best from you at all times. They pushed my teammates and me to get better each and every day and also hold each other accountable. What I loved most was not only did they teach you the skills required for the sport, but they both strove to teach us lessons that would be helpful in real life after high school,” said Key.
He also enjoyed playing with his teammates due to the fact that they were all close friends. Key describes the friendships as a brotherhood. They went through all of the long summer workouts and tough practices together.
“We had a lot of success in basketball and football my senior year. I attribute that to great coaches, great teammates and great leadership. It wasn’t easy. We practiced hard and pushed ourselves to the limits, but we were able to enjoy success because of it,” said Key.
Key also participated in different clubs, such as SADD, Booster Club and choir. SADD allowed Key to be a part of a group of students that were supporting each other in making the right decisions. He also was fond of choir due to his love of singing and playing music. Being a part of Booster Club gave Key the opportunity to support classmates in their sporting events as well.
“My junior and senior year, when the girls basketball teams won Sectional and went to Regional, we had the cheer block ROCKIN’ and it was PACKED with students. That’s something I wish would get back to how it used to be. We have a great group of student athletes, and I wish there would be HUGE cheer blocks to cheer them on this year and in the years to come at sporting events. It makes the games and atmosphere so much more fun,” said Key.
Key also enjoyed competing in the speech contest every year. His favorite memory was from his senior year when he and his high school friend Ian Bostock and won the contest by performing a comedy skit called “Bring Me My Brown Pants,” and they had the opportunity to perform in front of the school.
Although Key had a comical side to share, he made sure he was generally known for how genuine he was when it came to his behavior towards others.
“I was known as a good student academically, but more than that, I wanted to take pride in how I treated other students and staff. I always tried to be polite and say ‘good morning’ and ‘how are you today.’ It’s nice to see young kids take time out of their day to just simply ask an adult how they’re doing and be polite and respectful. That’s something I want to instill in my students now: not only being good in school, but being a great person,” said Key.
From his time at PHS in high school to his employment, Key has noticed changes in PHS.
“Everything was paper and pencil when I was in school. Cell phones are also a big issue now. When I was in high school, most people had smartphones, but we weren’t addicted to them,” said Key.
One of the main things Key misses the most about PHS is being with his friends. Most of them went their separate ways as they started their young adult lives.
Although there are many things he misses about being a student, Key will always remember the importance of what he learned from PHS.
“I grew up in the Paoli school system, and I plan on retiring from the Paoli school system. This is a great school. It provided me memories I’ll never forget. It provided me life lessons and prepared me for college and life after high school. That is why I came back. I care about Paoli schools. I care about this community and the kids that make it up, and I want to be a positive influence who prepares students for life and their future endeavors. I am truly Paoli Proud,” said Key.
Key can be found teaching one of his math classes.
Story by Ashlyn Bonta