Marlin Shamblin and Ken McCormick were good friends from their days at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Shamblin became a Spanish teacher at Sidney High School and urged his social studies counterpart to join him in a community he and his family had come to enjoy and call “home.”
In 1968 the two were reunited until retiring from teaching. Shamblin gets credit not only for bringing a fine educator to Sidney but also a caring person who would become a full participant in school, church, and community.
On Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the SHS auditorium, the late Kenneth W. McCormick will receive the highest honor bestowed by the school district when he’s inducted into the Sidney City Schools Hall of Honor along with three alumni, Susan L. Russell (SHS 1970), Martin L. “Mick” Given (SHS 1975), and Thomas P. Milligan (SHS 1978). A gymnasium reception will follow with both events open to the public.
Given and Milligan each had McCormick for American History during their junior years. He was not yet teaching college prep American History during Russell’s junior year which was his first in Sidney.
After teaching in both West Union and Botkins, he arrived at Sidney High School in 1968 and stayed for 25 years while earning his Master’s at Ball State University. He was active in the Sidney Education Association and served as its president. SEA named him Teacher of the Year in 1992. He viewed supplemental duties as part of being a teacher, from coaching to announcing to equipment manager to advising student organizations.
McCormick’s candidacy for the Hall of Honor was supported by many former students and colleagues. Now retired Sidney teacher Terri (Snavley) Thompson (SHS 1973) cited him as an inspiration for her to become a teacher, and a mentor once she entered the profession. Cincinnati TV news personality Sheila Slyh Robinson (SHS 1983, HoH 2005 ) hopes that “all of my children’s teachers show the care and concern which he showed to me and my classmates.”
The non-educational community also got to know him through the Sock & Buskin Theater group, golfing activities, and his total immersion in the First Baptist Church including his performances in the church choir.
The huge majority of the Hall of Honor consists of SHS graduates but it’s also open to outstanding employees and supporters of the district who come from elsewhere. McCormick is the 18th non-alumnus to be recognized through 24 inductions and 123 members. He’s survived by his wife Polly, of Sidney, and two adult children. Appropriately, one is a teacher and the other a historical society administrator, and they will jointly accept his award.