When veteran teacher Sarah Kittrell retired after 44 years in 2013, as a tribute to her the upstairs 200 hallway became Sarah Kittrell Hall, complete with a mural reading “Mama K’s Hallway.” Due to a campus remodel two years ago, the mural was painted over. Instead, the hallway now offers a more permanent accolade: a plaque.
“Mrs. Kittrell is a legend at Boone High School and there was a pit in my stomach for weeks after we had to paint over that mural tribute. A couple of former Boone teachers and I brainstormed this more permanent way to memorialize “Mama K’s” contribution to the students at Boone High School that she has impacted over a 44 year career with us,” principal Dusty Johns said.
Johns revealed the plaque to Kittrell on March 12, the day after students left school for spring break.
“Mrs. Montgomery had invited me to go to breakfast. She then told me that she had to stop by Boone before we went to eat. I didn’t think that this was anything abnormal,” Kittrell said. “As we walked down the hall, I saw Mr. Johns standing at the other end. It never occurred to me that he was waiting for us. When we got closer, he began to talk and then said that there were other people that wanted to see me. I was totally surprised to see all of these friends: former teachers, former students, my grandson and my sister.”
Kittrell remembers feeling surprised when Johns pulled back a black cloth, unveiling the plaque.
“I never expected something like that. It was a surprise when they painted the wall when I retired, but this was really special,” Kittrell said.
Kittrell, known for her loving personality, impacted thousands of students during her 44 years as a teacher and treated many like her own family members.
“She’s invested her life into her students, treating each as though they were her own. Many legends have served BHS, but I’d venture none so revered as Mama K,” JJ Litchford, 2006 Senior Class President said. “Her impact on our school and community will remain impossibly unparalleled. If anyone deserves this honor, surely it’s Mama K.”
Kittrell’s involvement as a Boone teacher extended beyond the wide range of classes she taught. She played an active role in student government, forming connections with and passing traditions on to her students.
“From her yearbook staff to the senior class officers to the students in her classes, she has shown them all how to relate to each other, how to carry on traditions, and why it is important to do so, and how important it is to be a part of your world,” Annette Montgomery said.
As a dedicated business educator, Kittrell continues to volunteer with the yearbook staff and campus bookkeeper in addition to being an active member of the Boone Foundation.
“By volunteering, I can see my friends as well as help those that need help. It makes me feel like I am doing something good for someone else,” Kittrell said.