NEWPORT BEACH — Friday will be Bob Kelly's final day of school after 41 years of teaching at Newport Heights Elementary School.
"That term 'surreal' is overused, but it feels a little bit like that, you know," he said during a visit to his classroom. "It's like, jeez, this is really the end? It doesn't really feel like it."
Kelly, who has educated second-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students, started and ran Newport Heights' first computer lab in the 1980s and served as the district's science coordinator, is retiring at 66.
The long-time Costa Mesa resident and Chicago-area native started at Newport Heights fresh out of college in 1970. He went to Orange Coast College and Cal State Dominguez Hills, where he earned his undergraduate degree and teaching credentials.
An American studies major, Kelly was unsure of whether he wanted to teach until his senior year, when he volunteered in a friend's second-grade classroom.