VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Two music teachers in Virginia Beach are ending this school year on a different note.
Ken and DeLena Poe spend most of their day together. Not only are they married to each other, but they’ve also spent their entire careers teaching music to students in Virginia Beach.
“We’ve even had what we call grand-students; children of students that we had early on,” DeLena Poe said. “In fact, we run into kids we had 40 years ago.”
Nowadays, Ken instructs band and DeLena teaches choir at Old Donation School.
And after a combined 83 years in Virginia Beach Schools, the couple is preparing to retire on June 14.
“We both really love what we do and we really love our kids. There’s no good time to retire,” DeLena said. “I think that’s probably the secret for us of staying so long. Music and kids is who we are, it always has been. We just feel that’s been a calling on our life.”
Their calling began in college. Ken and DeLena met as music majors at the University of Richmond. DeLena graduated a year before Ken and began working for Virginia Beach Schools. Ken would follow a year later.
The two married and have dedicated their lives of sharing their passion of music with thousands of students.
“This is just the greatest joy to be able to take 100 kids and give them the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” DeLena said. “We get to teach them about life and help them work through challenges and we get to do that through music, so is there a better job in the world? I don’t think so.”
The couple has countless memories, including Ken’s third-place finish last year as National Music Teacher of the Year.
“I’ll miss the kids more than anything else,” Ken said. “I will miss the kids. I love the kids. I love, enjoy being with them. And I love that experience.”
As the Poes reflect on their careers and prepare for their swan song, they do it with a smile, knowing a piece of them will still be in Virginia Beach Schools. Their son, Joshua, teaches orchestra at Green Run High School.