Written by Summer Nichols
As students weave through the campus of WHS, a flash of bright–colored clothing can be seen driving a golf cart and shouting words of endearment. This energetic figure is none other than campus supervisor Rick Kelman.
Kelman’s unwavering positivity is greatly appreciated by students and faculty, as his attitude inspires many to adopt his optimistic viewpoint.
Though the majority views him as the epitome of cheerfulness, Kelman has faced his share of trials and tribulations. In January 2010, Kelman’s youngest son died of an opioid overdose.
“It’s something I will never forget, and they say time heals – not when you bury a child,” said Kelman.
Despite this unimaginable tragedy, Kelman has bounced back into action with the love and support of those surrounding him.
“I have the most incredible wife in the world, a family that’s so supportive, and most of all WHS,” said Kelman. “The kids don’t get it, but if I give them a high five or say ‘I love you, have a great day’ and they say ‘coach, I love you; have a great day’, it makes life worth living.”
Following the death of his son, Kelman decided to “semi–retire” and take a job in WHS maintenance.
“I was coaching here 32 years ago and I was a building contractor,” said Kelman. “A position opened up in maintenance, so I took it in a hot second. It was the greatest movement I’ve ever made in my life.”
A job at WHS has its perks, especially for Kelman. He considers his time on campus to be “the greatest job ever” and endeavors to make every student’s day more enjoyable.
“My whole focus is to make sure that everybody — especially the freshmen coming in — have the best, most positive four years of their life up until now,” said Kelman. “If I can do anything to make that happen, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Though Kelman specializes in maintenance and campus supervision, he can also be found helping out the WHS football team.
“Kelman is a jack of all trades for us,” said varsity football head coach Mark Servé. “He’s so outgoing, so positive and so energetic — it’s hard not to smile when he’s around.”
Similar to their coach, WHS football players value Kelman’s commitment on and off the field as well.
“He will come up to me during practices and games to remind me that he’s proud of me,” wrote varsity football player Nathan Alexander ‘23. “His ability to make your day better by a hug is something no one else can do. He loves everyone at the school like they’re his own child.”
Though Kelman’s compassionate nature is greatly valued by the team and coach, his infectious optimism extends beyond the football field.
“He is a very big energy booster, and it helps me,” said Sydney Siegal ‘24. “If I’m not having a great morning and Kelman is there, I think ‘oh, I’m going to be fine’.”
Despite Kelman’s innate ability to improve a person’s day, his influence primarily serves as a guiding light for students. Ultimately, he hopes his presence on campus will help unify WHS as a whole.
“Be tolerant of each other,” said Kelman. “Be supportive of each other, and […] love one another.”