WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — "I've been in this building, more than I've been in any home, any apartment, any church, any store like this. I've been at 341 Carey Avenue for, you know, most of my life."
That's what English teacher Kevin Welles said when we asked him about what it was like to be spending his last week inside Meyers High School.
He said if he was better at math, he might be able to tell us how many days he spent inside classrooms and hallways or how many times he walked up and down the school's iconic staircase, built in the 1930s.
"I went to summer camp here as a child in the mid-70s. I came back; I subbed for a year after going seventh through 12th grade here," explained Welles.
Then he taught here for 27 years. Now, he and his colleagues are packing up their classrooms. Welles says with the pandemic, he and other teachers didn't have a chance to be sentimental about leaving the building behind, as all the city schools are merging into one.
"We really didn't have the time to have, 'Oh, this is the final homecoming, or this is the final pep rally,'" added Welles.
But now that it's time for students to rehearse their graduation speeches, he says it's hitting him.
"We know no matter how beautiful this building is, no matter how beautiful the new building is, it's not about the building, you know, what happens in a building. It comes down to the people," said Welles.
He joked with Newswatch 16 that perhaps it's not "so long," maybe it's just 'good-bye for now" as the building is being sold and slated for a new assisted-living facility.
"But what if, you know, in my 80s I'm wheeled into like room 212? Wouldn't that be odd, that I could return?" he laughed.
The final graduation is set to take place at Meyers High School at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.