SPORTS AND MORE: TEACHING AND TRAINING IS A CURRY FAMILY AFFAIR
Although Nancy and Gary’s last name – Curry – is familiar to residents of Key West, Gary clarified, “My family is from St. Petersburg.”
They are the Key West High School co-coaches of a sport often run by one person – tennis. The couple are also co-teachers, working in the same room where they teach English, a rare arrangement in most schools.
Gary and Nancy, who are now 56, met 38 years ago at the University of South Florida, he from St. Petersburg, she from Belmar, New Jersey. At the end of their freshman year at USF, they fled and embarked on journeys that took them to many cities and countries, including teaching at the American School in Saudi Arabia. Along the way, they both earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
They spent eight years in three different schools in Saudi Arabia. “In addition to teaching, we have co-coached several sports there,” said Gary Curry. “Basketball, badminton, table tennis. Indians and Pakistanis love their sports, especially table tennis.
Gary has played tennis “forever,” he said. “My dad owned a tennis center in St. Pete.”
Soon Nancy was playing too, learning at the family center in Deland, Florida. “If I wanted to be part of the Curry family, I had to play tennis,” she told me recently as the three of us chatted in high school.
“Working together as co-teachers is a popular model elsewhere, but not in Key West; neither by husbands and wives, ”Gary said. But they convinced Key West officials that they could move in that direction. So they were hired as co-teachers at Horace O’Bryant Middle School, where they spent five years. They are now in their second year of high school.
As the size of their English class has grown as they share tasks, they earn salaries commensurate with having their own classes. When Paul Findlay was unable to continue coaching the boys and girls tennis teams this year, the Currys applied and were hired as co-coaches who shared the duties. Gary educates the boys and Nancy the girls. With tennis, a spring sport, their seasons will begin in mid-February. They will also change teams when deemed useful.
They also teach English as a second language. “We only speak English, so we don’t give students crutches,” Gary said. They also co-taught math, science, reading, physical education, and gifted children.
“But we are learning Spanish,” Nancy offered. “We mix them up, teach separate groups. There is a lot of movement. “
Since they have lived and worked together, the two have found other opportunities. “I love to paint and I love to say that I am learning to play the piano,” Gary said.
“I like to write,” says Nancy. “I play the guitar and the trumpet. But in February, that team will focus on the tennis court.
Conchs Takes District Finalist
The Key West High football team took second place in District 16-5A on Friday night defeating Jackson, 31-6, in Miami. The Conchs under coach John Hughes rounded out their district schedule with a 2-1 record behind undefeated Killian with Jackson and St. Brendan behind the Conches. Overall, Key West is 4-3.
Senior quarterback Preston Herce and junior running back James Reynolds each passed 100 rushing yards, Herce to 109 in 18 carries and Reynolds 101 in 11 carries. Herce completed 3 of 6 passes with 32 and 22 yard touchdowns to Michael Cates. Reynolds and sophomore Clerf Alexandre also scored a touchdown. Placekicker Darwin Correa added a 32-yard field goal and four extra points. Key West returns to Backyard Field at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 22 to take on the Surge Academy of Hollywood.