Drive-by honors

Photo by JUDITH ZACCARIA

National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy gets hit by an explosion of colored paper Wednesday during the drive-by parade held in her honor at Southwestern College. Cars also sent streams of Silly String, shiny exploding papers and gold-wrapped candy kisses. Dozens of autos full of her fans took part in the parade.

Family and friends gathered Wednesday evening at the foot of Southwestern College’s 77 Steps to help National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy to enjoy the parade of cars that drove from Winfield High School to the college and around the horseshoe entrance to honor her.

Among the crowd with her were her husband, Tim Rosproy, and her father, Vince McMullen.

Tim Rosproy called her a “wildfire,” fun to be around. “She works harder than anybody I’ve ever known.”

He said it’s been an adjustment not having her around all the time this past year as she’s been fulfilling her duties as Kansas State Teacher of the Year.

“I miss the things she does I don’t do as well,” Tim Rosproy said.

But he’s not concerned for her safety while she’s traveling. “She takes care of herself.”

Her father, who recently moved to Winfield, said, “I knew a long time ago she was something special.”

When she was a young child, they had gone some place that had a white board, and Tabatha amused herself by writing the alphabet backwards. Not just the order, however; she made each letter backwards as well.

McMullen graduated from Southwestern, so her graduating from there is a source for pride for him.

She excelled at everything except softball, McMullen said. On her first day of practice, she was at bat and was hit on the nose by the ball, breaking it.

“She had two big black eyes,” McMullen said. And she never went much further than that in the sport.

Among the crowd of cars was one from Cumbernauld Village carrying her grandfather, who recently moved there. Friends and supporters Brad and Kelly Wall drove from their home in Lawrence to be part of the parade.

Other former coworkers came from a couple of hours away, too. A car pulling a trailer held her coworkers from the Winfield Early Learning Center. Stephen and Dixie Woodburn and daughter, Ruby, asked Rosproy if she had time to babysit. Evidently she did when she was Stephen’s student at SC.

Most of the other cars were filled with kids, some in their car seats, some looking out through the sunroof, many holding signs of congratulations. Tabatha several times went to a car to pose with a passenger.

Several photographers from the college, as well as friends, snapped and filmed the event. McMullen was streaming the event on his telephone.

One photographer said, “A small town can celebrate, no matter what.”

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