Knox County teacher celebrates name change with students

Local News

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE)– A Knox County teacher is getting married this summer and wanted to share a special moment with her students leading up to her big day.

Kelli Smith has taught both kindergarten and third grade for the past 12 years in Knox County.

“I chose to be a teacher because I wanted to make a difference and you never have a boring day,” she said. “You have fun every single day, and you have love every single day.”

Her first class of 5-year-old’s are now juniors in high school.

“She taught me how to read which is pretty cool,” laughed Parker Feagins, who was one of Ms. Smith’s first students and is now a 16-year-old junior at Knoxville Central High School.

Smith wanted to celebrate the fact that she will no longer be called Miss Smith, but will soon be called Mrs. Boling.

With that thought in mind, she planned a community Miss to Mrs. party.

“She’s such a selfless person,” said her fiancé, Bryan Boling. “Being able to see her and hear about her day, she gets excited to talk about her kids.”

Bowling and Smith say said they met at an 80s cover band concert four years ago and have been together since.

Odessa Owens is in kindergarten and said she’s learned a lot from Ms. Smith.

“She taught me a lot of things, and one time when we were at the playground that if you pull grass or plants from the ground it kills that plant. So that’s why sometimes I don’t pull plants cause I remember that.”

Now Owens has some advice for Mr. Boling.

“He should wash the dishes,” she said.

Parker Feagins was one of Ms. Smiths first kindergarten students, but he still remembers being in her class.

“This one day one of the other kids in the class threw this crayon at me and I thought it would be a good idea to draw on the carpet, and I got in so much trouble with her and my mom because I drew on her brand new carpet as a first-year teacher.”

Ms. Smith taught Feagins and her other students how to read, and now she hopes they may have some good advice as she becomes Mrs. Boling.

“I guess communication is important,” shrugged Feagins.

Bryan Boling and Kelli Smith will be getting married July 16.

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