"Really, there's no words. So, I don't know. It's just...overwhelming."
A man who uses his words to educate children at Parkview Junior High School is left speechless.The Creve Coeur community came together to celebrate the accomplishments of Science Teacher Jeff Kluesner. As a retired air traffic controller, he decided to take upon the responsibility of teaching.
"He's what I aspire to be when I become a teacher. He's the reason I changed my major from psychology to be a teacher," said former student Rylee Harper. She will be attending Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville to pursue her degree.
Due to a lack of school funding, Kluesner purchased 22 computers for the students at Parkview. But his dedication goes beyond the classroom. He volunteered when the school needed a basketball coach, and also helped at the concessions during the games by providing his "famous popcorn."
His service doesn't stop there; he built guitars for the kids, while also creating potato launchers for his science class. Kluesner says he's just doing his job and loves seeing the smiles on his students' faces.
"That's what it's all about. That's what teaching is about. A lot of these kids respond to that because they know that I care. So in the classroom it works, after school it works. Those relationships, those connections are the most important thing in the world," said Kluesner.
Years later, the students he had in junior high are still impacted by his kindness and support.
"We are just forever grateful for having him in our life. Even now that we graduated high school, we still have him, we still look up to him," said former student Katie Ireyer.
Kluesner hopes to continue to have an impact on each chapter of his students lives. In Creve Coeur