Mr. Jeff Melsha
May 3, 2018
Art by Celia Bergman
15 years of teaching at KHS
TKC: What are your retirement plans?
Melsha: Nothing definite right now*, but I’ll definitely work somewhere in the music industry. I have some thoughts and ideas and I’ve been talking to some places, but I don’t have any places that I’m going to go to rush to right after school’s out in May. I’m not going to just fish and sit in a recliner for the rest of my life.
TKC: What is your favorite memory at KHS?
Melsha: Pep rallies. Pep rallies are really neat, [because] the entire school, community and parents come together, especially the Turkey Day one with the Chili Bowl. There’s just a lot of excitement to be here at school and do things. The band is usually a big part of that and they like to play. I think that’s probably my favorite memory.
TKC: What will you miss the most about KHS?
Melsha: Being around 200 kids every day. You know, they make me young, or feel young anyway. [They have] lots of energy and excitement. I’ll have to somehow replace that daily dose of youth with something that will keep making me happy.
TKC: What are you most excited for in retirement?
Melsha: I don’t have anything I’m excited about, I just think it’s time. While I’m telling seniors every day that this is the last stepping stone and they’re going to walk out of these doors and get a new life, I’m looking at the same thing now. I guess I’m excited, while there’s no specific plan, just starting a new journey.
TKC: What makes KHS unique compared to other schools you have worked at?
Melsha: I think that there is a higher expectation for success from the community. If at a football game or a pep rally, the band wasn’t there or didn’t play well, I think you’d find out or hear about it pretty quickly. In other places, it’s not that community type of event like it is in Kirkwood. Everybody has a high expectation of what should happen and what should go on. I think that’s the unique thing that I’ve noticed about Kirkwood.
TKC: Has the Kirkwood community been supportive of the band program?
Melsha: Oh yeah. Absolutely and the band parent group is amazing. They work hard and raise funds to meet the needs of the kids as far as the fiscal part goes. Absolutely, 100 percent.
* After the interview, Melsha decided to take a job working with Palen Music Center beginning July 1 as an Education Representative and Consultant for the eastern Missouri and western Illinois region. He will go to different high schools in this region and provide their marching bands with advice for improvement.