Palo Alto High School students, faculty and parents celebrated the life of AP Environmental Science teacher Kenyon Scott at a ceremony yesterday afternoon in the Media Arts Center.Hundreds attended the ceremony, which included speeches from Mr. Scott’s friends, family and principal Kim Diorio.
“It [the ceremony] was really heartwarming and I am proud of our Paly family for doing such a great job with this and coming together,” Diorio said.
A common theme throughout the event was Mr. Scott’s love for teaching at Paly.
“He loved the school and he was proud to be a part of it,” his brother Joe Scott said.
The celebration commenced with the song “What I Got” by Sublime, performed by senior Jer Samos, choir teacher Michael Najar and juniors Emily Read and Spencer Wycoff.
“His family chose it [the song] for us,” Read said.
Senior Kevin Bowers led the audience in a hand-clapping exercise to commemorate one of Mr. Scott’s classroom traditions before a series of speakers told anecdotes about the veteran teacher’s life.
“I will always remember his hearty laugh and eye-to-eye smile,” math teacher Arne Lim said. “He represented everything about teaching. … He conducted his classes with power and energy.”
Several of Mr. Scott’s friends related personal stories about playing golf, as well as spoke about his passions for the University of California Berkeley’s football team, geology and the Earth.
“Each of you [students] made a very big difference in his life,” one friend said.
Family members also took the stage to reminisce on childhood memories. Joe Scott discussed a backpacking trip in which Mr. Scott saved his brother, Jon, from a rattlesnake bite by finding help in the wilderness.
“Ken was everyone’s hero,” Joe Scott said.
Mr. Scott’s sister, Laurie Burmeister, shared letters she received after his passing.
“He was a witty, smart, sensitive, passionate man,” Burmeister said.
Emily Scott honored her father with a performance art piece that depicted the struggles a girl faces due to being “different.” Emily Scott said her father had enjoyed the piece.
To conclude the ceremony, Paly’s symphonic band performed three UC Berkeley songs to honor his enthusiasm for Cal’s football team, the Golden Bears.