Greenon Local students, faculty and staff lost a friend, mentor and all around good teacher this past week when Jeffrey Whitt passed away at the age of 55.
Before coming to Greenon Local, he taught American history at Schaffer Middle School for 14 years. He retired in 2015 after serving the students at Indian Valley for 16 years. He was a coach for the track and football teams at Schaffer and Greenon Local. During his time in Springfield City, he used his talents as a master in competitive chess to coach the South High School team to a State Championship.
Students at Indian Valley have wonderful memories of their trips to the nation’s capital with Whitt as their guide. This tradition has existed within the district for 8th graders for decades. He was a member of SAR and received the DAR Teacher of the Year award at the local and state level.
Jeff was married for 30 years and leaves behind his wife Karen. Students and staff lined the street outside of Greenon High School on Thursday to bid farewell to their beloved teacher as his processional drove by for one final goodbye before moving to his resting place at Enon Cemetary.
Tom Jenkins recently shared a post on the Greenon Facebook page talking about his mentor and we wanted to share that with the community so that they could better understand the connection that teachers make in the workplace and how it impacts beyond the classroom and following the curriculum.
“Last week, we started to prepare for our annual eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C., Jeff’s favorite week of the year. It was always the two of us with 44 students on a bus visiting amazing cities along our nation’s east coast. Along the way there were history lessons, funny hats, inside jokes, and karaoke contests. Helping plan for this year’s trip brought back many wonderful memories. That’s when it really hit me. Teaching is an amazing profession. It’s full of wonderful people who lift each other up and push each other forward. Why do we do it? Certainly not because it’s easy or it makes us rich, but rather we want to make a difference. THANK YOU to all of the mentors that remind us of what’s truly important in life.”
Whitt shared his journey through cancer freely on his Facebook page and was determined to win his fight. He shared thoughts about his retirement with his former co-workers “To all my teacher friends, enjoy your career, it goes by quickly. I will be on the golf course!!!!” He was a loyal Pittsburgh Steeler fan and enjoyed the challenges they faced heading to playoff the past couple of years. He seemed to love sports as much as history and that seems appropriate. He would have way too much fun with the talking heads on politics often making comments about the latest news.
Farewell Mr. Whitt, you touched the lives of countless students and made them think about the past, the present and the future where they will become the leaders of our community. It is the dedication to supporting both student, pre-service teachers and co-workers that makes a teacher great and Jeff proved this throughout his career.
A scholarship fund has been established at Security National Bank Enon Branch for donations in memory of Jeff.