Weymouth – Principal Nancy Shuwerk knew this final week at Nash Elementary would be particularly busy with 5th grade graduations, class events, awards and kindergarten registration for next year.
Then, two weeks ago, a completely unexpected phone call raised the stakes even higher.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” wanted to come to Nash School for their Father’s Day special. One of the school system’s most beloved teachers for over 20 years, Ken Abbott has been thrust into the stunning spotlight of national television.
A retired music and special education teacher, Mr. Abbott has been teaching in Weymouth for over 20 years and has excellent reading and math skills. Since September, he has been volunteering at school two days a week with his daughter Melissa Stafie’s kindergarten class.
Then, after a phone call from GMA, the rush of preparation began. Mr. Schwerk and the school staff all worked together to help set the stage. Calls were pouring in from all over town, including former colleague Margaret O’Hearn, former teachers and students, community and church groups.
GMA arrives early in Weymouth
Soon the advance party of “Good Morning America” arrived at the door.
At 1 p.m. Thursday, staff arrived from New York to set up equipment in the gym. They had 24 hour security. Just after 8:00 this morning, “Good Morning America” was broadcast live from the Nash School gymnasium. Interviews started last week.
An unsuspecting Abbott, who had just been summoned to the gym through the school’s PA system, quietly walked down the ground floor hallway and through the gym’s door onto the American network television stage.
Inside the gym, more than 100 people were waiting, including dozens of Abbott’s former students. They were happy to arrive early so as not to see him when he arrived at 7:45am.
“By spreading his good vibes, Ken is a great role model not only for the school, but for the rest of the community,” Shuwerk said beforehand.
good age:A special father rises up to help his daughter’s kindergarten education in Weymouth
Why do you think Ken Abbott comes to school on Fridays?
My soft-spoken grandfather came to Nash School on Friday thinking he was going to do a special reenactment of the Peter Rabbit song story with music played on an electronic keyboard. He continues to practice at his home.
This spring, “Good Morning America” saw an April Patriot Leisure article about the heartwarming, unusual father-daughter teaching team. The paper learned of them after Mr. Stafiye wrote a tribute to his father for the school.
Last September, in her fourth year as a teacher, Stafye faced the most diverse classroom with a wide range of student abilities. She was concerned if she could coach each child to their level and prepare them all for her first grade. Mr. Abbott, who has been retired for 11 years, said, “Would you like to come and help out twice a week?”
Monday and Wednesday he drove up from Hanson just for that.
Nash Elementary School preparing for “Good Morning America”
It was exciting for Shoowerk to work with the network TV crew to bring this local story to America.
“I learned a lot,” she said, detailing the preliminary work.
First, ABC sent large white poster boards to schools and asked students and teachers to color and display them. “Good Morning America” also sent out a sign reading “Number One Dad,” “Happy Father’s Day,” and “We (Heart) Mr. Abbott.”
Technicians arrived to check the school’s WiFi speeds, lighting in various areas, entrances used for live broadcasts, and parking lots. Located in the back of the Stetson Building off Route 18, the school has several parking lots and on Friday all visitors were parked in the large back lot to avoid seeing the crowds as Abbott drove in. I was guided.
Last week and this week, interviewers who work for Good Morning America arrived to speak with Abbott’s former teacher colleagues and former students. Weymouth School Superintendent Robert Wargo, and Elizabeth Harris and Alyssa Hagerty from the school’s Community Relations Office were involved.
“We want to maintain the purpose of celebrating Ken, who is a teacher, a community member, a friend and a wonderful father,” Shuwerk said. “Some people haven’t seen Ken in 25 years.”
Mr. Schwark has a very personal point of view. Her son, Andrew, 22, a special education student with Abbott as his teacher, had just graduated from Alfred University in New York with a degree in environmental science. When he went to college, he wrote a letter thanking Abbott for helping him reach his goal.
This is more than just a school event – supported by South Shore Hospital and Old South Union Church
Mr. Shuwerk invited people from the community groups Mr. Abbott volunteered for, including the South Shore Hospital, where Mr. Abbott served as a escort, and the Old South Union Church, where Mr. Abbott served as a deacon. . A light buffet was planned after the program.
Thirteen maroon polo shirts with the “June 16, 2023 Ken Abbott Appreciation Day” logo were ordered as gifts for the Abbott family for Father’s Day on Sunday.
On Monday, a TV crew filmed interviews with former students, families and colleagues, including former superintendent Jennifer Curtis Whipple, who raised Abbott as a teacher and later became a colleague.
Abbott’s grandchildren were asked to share their favorite “dad moments.”
Schools Cleaned, Painted and Prepared for Big GMA Spot
The maintenance staff immediately got to work mowing the lawn and tidying up the grounds.
Inside, the maintenance staff were also busy working. I had to move the gym rope higher so it wouldn’t block the view of the TV cameras.
“Every corner has been cleaned,” Shuwerk said.
She repainted the podium a glossy black, and second-grade teacher Adriana Del Rosso arranged for a large bouquet of flowers from her garden to add a personal touch to the buffet.
Betsy Harris, Director of Regional Relations, collected photos for a slideshow of Abbott’s Weymouth school days.
“You represent not only your school, but your city,” Shuwerk said of the initiative. “It was a very positive feeling. All the people who came were careful not to disturb our activities and were very kind. I knew.”
How his wife Ginny Abbott got involved
Ginny Abbott, Abbott’s wife and Staffier’s mother, is also a former teacher. For her 26 years, she taught her 5th grade and computer education at Braintree School. She’s been busy retrieving letters that former students and colleagues have written to Abbott over the years (and she’s been busy all week so she can call on the last day of preparations for this surprise). I’ve been keeping him busy with errands, which include) call this reporter. )
Ken Abbott graduated from Braintree High School in 1971 and went on to study music education at Boston University in 1975. He soon took up a teaching job in Weymouth, teaching music in five primary schools for ten years. Special education appealed to him after seeing young people in a variety of learning situations.
After earning a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Eastern Nazarene University in Quincy, he remained in Weymouth for the remainder of his 36-year teaching career, teaching reading and special education.
In 2011, he received an early retirement grant and has since kept busy volunteering, sharing positive thoughts, and most recently appearing on national television.
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