Weekend events honor memories of two Cobb teachers

People at an art exhibit

Patrick Key Memorial Art Show (all photos by Rebecca Gaunt

by Rebecca Gaunt

Events honoring the memories of Hendricks Elementary School art teacher Patrick Key, who died of COVID-19 in 2020, and Wheeler High School band director Madison Argo, who died in October, took place over the weekend.

Art with Heart, the second annual Patrick Key Memorial Art Show, took place Saturday at Campbell High School’s performing arts center. Proceeds benefit the Patrick Key Memorial Fund, which is used to provide grants to art teachers in the district.

Award winner Maureen Armstrong with Laura LaQuaglia and the Key family.

Key’s wife Priscella, also a teacher, attended with family members.

Student art work from all over the district was displayed and available for purchase.

The show in 2022 raised enough money to fund every grant application submitted over the past year, 20 in total. This year’s show will fund the next grant cycle, which will open soon, according to Laura LaQuaglia, the visual arts supervisor for Cobb County School District.

“Patrick was very passionate, not only about the visual arts, but also about making sure that all students across the district in every classroom had access to supplies to create,” LaQuaglia said.

She also presented Mountain View Elementary School art teacher Maureen Armstrong with the Patrick Key award for kindness.

Students lined up to make memory boxes celebrating Madison Argo.

Argo was honored Sunday with a service held in Wheeler’s performing arts center.

Argo died unexpectedly at the age of 32. Though he was only in his second year at Wheeler, those who knew him said he left an indelible mark.

The former drum major graduated from Auburn University in 2014 and received his master’s degree from Ball State University. Auburn has created a memorial band scholarship in his honor.

Argo’s close friend and former Auburn bandmate Darby Norton spoke at the event.

The lobby filled with people celebrating Argo’s life.

“It felt like a coming home to him, to come to Wheeler. He just adored his time with his students, adored his time here,” she said.

Don Taylor described Argo as a goofball with contagious energy, sharing that he once did cartwheels on top of the pressbox.

“I never thought of it as celebrating who Mr. Argo was, but celebrating who he is, and what he means to all of us,” student Michael McClellan told the audience.

Prior to the service, students had the opportunity to create memory boxes in the lobby. They selected their three favorite photos of Argo and wrote their favorite memories on a slip of paper.

“He had an unapologetic passion for getting the kids to want to do their very best no matter what it was,” Gary Stephens, the band booster president, told the Courier.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.