SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The end of the school year means a few weeks away from the classroom for teachers and students. But for one teacher who has been in the Manatee School System for more than three decades, the end of this school year means retirement and the end of a unique tradition.
After 33-years of teaching art, Martha B. King Middle School teacher David Leppek will ride what he calls “his convertible” to school for the last time. For decades, whether in the heat or rain, Leppek has made the bike trip to and from school, with a different sign daily, that hangs on the back. A sign with a message for students.
“Some of them are just things that happen in the news, a lot of them are just motivational,” Leppek explained.
With quotes like, “Manners matter,” “Stop wishing, start doing” and “Be fearful of mediocrity,” Leppek says it’s all about motivating and setting a positive example for his students.
“I want the kids to be unique, get some unusual idea. Hopefully emotionally grasp the person who is looking at the artwork,” said Leppek.
Eighth grader Elijah Hager says although he’ll no longer have Leppek as a teacher, his favorite quote “Dare 2 be different” will be applied to everything he does. “Through your artwork and through your actions, if you’re different you’ll stand out and amaze the world. You’ll show everyone that you’re amazing,” said Hager.
King Middle’s Principal says the students will especially miss those signs for years to come. “It’s definitely a topic of conversation. He loves everyday just to have the different signs. Every single day, he can get off that bike and have a smile and those students are just so excited to go and see him,” said Kristin Kreiling.
After retirement, Leppek is considering to continue teaching as a tutor, not only children but adults as well.