Longtime educator George McKee of Union will be the commencement speaker at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School’s graduation ceremony Thursday, May 16.

After graduation from high school, George enrolled at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Encouraged by his high school football coach, who also was his English teacher, he planned to become a high school English teacher.

After his junior year at Mizzou, he joined the United States Army Reserves, retiring as a staff sergeant after 24 years.

In those 24 years, he served as a combat medic, a psychiatric specialist and a range safety NCO.

Once his initial active duty obligations were completed, McKee returned to college at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He completed his student teaching at Normandy High School and took an English position at Soldan High School.

After three years, McKee and his wife, Susan, moved to Beaufort, and he began a 33-year stint at Union High School.

After retiring from Union in 2008, McKee was hired at Borgia High. For the past 11 years he has taught dual-credit composition classes and English IV classes.

McKee will retire from teaching at the end of this school year.

Honored as Teacher of the Year at both Union and Borgia, McKee has always been a fierce advocate for professional educators, school officials said.

During his 47 years in the classroom, he served as a local teachers union president. He said he believes that empowered teachers are the most effective teachers.

He also has served as the coach of Borgia’s scholar bowl team for the past 11 years.

McKee and his wife have raised three children, Jason, Caleb and Karen.

The McKees enjoy spending time with their three grandchildren, Sophia, Liam and Diego. They also appreciate the outdoors, especially camping and fishing.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ray DeGreeff gymnasium.