Kifleab Tekle has been a vital part of The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas for over 30 years.
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Within Hockaday – an all-girls private school – “Kief” is a superstar around campus, going above and beyond his role as a security guard.For example, while serving one of his primary duties guarding the entrance/exit of the student and faculty parking lot, Kief once broke his arm while chasing an intruder from the grounds. That’s dedication.
“For 30 years, Kief was the emperor of the parking lot and carpool, and for all those years, Kief has been the heart and soul of Hockaday,” Eugene McDermott Headmistress Liza Lee said in a prepared statement. “He has given us lessons in grace, lessons in courtesy and lessons in love.”
Before working as a security guard, Tekle was made to move from his home in Russia – where he was arrested for working for a textile company. He immediately moved to Eritrea, then Sudan where he adopted the role of an immigration interpreter.
Kief finally made his way to the U.S. after acquiring sponsorship from a Christian charity, making his way to Dallas in 1986. Soon after, he found Hockaday.
Hockaday, founded in 1913, has hosted some of the most powerful women in Texas and in the nation. Two of those names include former President George W. Bush’s daughters, Barbara and Jenna.
Recently, some alumnae from the class of 2000 put together a very special campaign to raise money for Kief’s retirement – Because, after three decades, he’s decided it’s time to part ways with his ‘second home.’
“When someone as pivotal in the community as Kief announces his retirement, it’s breathtaking, but not entirely surprising the entire community has rallied like this,” Amy Patrick, a structural engineer who graduated from the school in 2000, said. “He kept us safe. And he fought for safety.”
“He knows everybody’s names, their parents names, what kind of car they drive, their license plates. He basically knows it all to make sure our school was safe,” said Abby Hoak-Morton.
Those leading the projected decided $2,005 should be the GoFundMe campaign’s goal. However, as word got out, more and more alumnae – about 1,700 of them – who hold Kief dear to their hearts began contributing.
In total, the fund raised a jaw-dropping amount of over $185,000! It was far beyond the expectations of the organizers.
On Monday, April 11, the check was presented to Tekle in a private retirement ceremony. The gesture absolutely stunned Tekle.
“I was not expecting such a big farewell,”he said. “It means stability for my family.â€
But it shows the incredible impact that one person can have when he does his absolutely best to serve others. People take notice. What a powerful lesson for us all.
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