Black History Visionaries

Kief’s Kids Say Goodbye to Hockaday’s Friendliest Face

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DALLAS --Thousands of names have come through The Hockaday School, and Kief knows them all. The students are just a big group of Kief Tekale's kids, and they all have a tale to tell.

"He was probably the only person I remember from my first day of school and also my last," said Abby Hoak-Morton, a 2005 graduate of Hockaday.

"In middle school, he'd remember the make and model of my dad's car, and he'd tell me when my dad was at school," said current senior Manisha Ratakonda.

Kief knows names, car models, siblings, pretty much anything it takes to keep the girls of Hockaday safe and happy.

Now, it's all about to change.

"It's really special that he's leaving the same year we're leaving," said senior Talia Meidan. "I think that having him gone will leave Hockaday with a really big hole."

After 30 years and multiple generations of Kief's kids, Tekle is retiring at the end of the week.

"He's been such an integral part of this campus since my mom was at Hockaday," Meidan said. "His first year here was her first year driving."

He may be leaving, but he won't go empty handed.

Hoak-Morton started a GoFundMe page just to say "Thanks." Then, it blew up. We're talking 180 grand from nearly 2,000 people, all after just one week.

"The amount of people just shows how many people he`s influenced in their life," Hoak-Morton said. "I think it's incredible, and I think it's rare."

Kief, a man who escaped war in Ethiopia and Eritrea, calls the money life changing, but the girls say they're just returning the favor.

"He taught us more with his smile and his kind words than we could learn in a lifetime about how to be that way," Hoak-Morton said.

Of course, leaving won't be easy.

"Oh my God. They are my life.," he said.

Don't worry, Kief. They'll all be saving a high five, a hug, and a salute just for you.

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