Private School Alumnae Raise $185,000 as Gift for Retiring Security Guard

30 years of dedicated service have finally paid off for Kifleab Tekle, a retiring security guard at an elite all-girl’s school in Dallas. While most people in his position would retire quietly, he’s going out with a bang – a $185,000 check gifted to him by members of the school’s alumnae.

When they first got to know of Tekle’s retirement, many of the staff members and former students of Hockaday School started reminiscing over his unwavering service to the school and a few members of the class of 2005 even decided to raise $2,000 for him as a small token of their appreciation. So they started a GoFundMe campaign, which got so popular that it surpassed the original goal in no time at all.

“We know how much Kief means to everyone!” the campaign page reads. “It wasn’t an April fools joke, he is really retiring. We would love to collect money for a retirement gift for him. We are so excited that alumnae, current students, and parents are all donating.” The original plan was to hold a private meeting with Kief in the school grounds on Monday, April 11, and present him with whatever money they had managed to raise. But the amount turned out to exceed everyone’s expectations – a whopping $185,000. Kief was obviously beside himself, not only because of the generous gift, but also the fact that over 200 people turned up on Monday to wish him well. “I was not expecting such a big farewell,” he said, in a statement. “It means stability for my family.”


The event was an emotional one for everyone in attendance, with former students recalling that he was their very own Hagrid – remembering every student’s name and protecting them fiercely. In fact, he even broke his arm once, while chasing an intruder away from the campus. “When someone as pivotal in the community as Kief announces his retirement, it’s breathtaking, but not entirely surprising the entire community has rallied like this,” said Amy Patrick, who graduated in 2000. “He kept us safe. And he fought for safety.”

The Dallas Morning News reported that Tekle was born to a rich family in Ethiopia, and grew up in an eight-bedroom villa. But his family lost their fortune with the fall of the monarchy in the 1970s. He moved to the US in 1986, and soon started working at Hockaday, an elite school with powerful alumnae, including former US President George W Bush’s daughters. Tekle considered the opportunity his ‘first real job’, giving it his best shot.


“For 30 years, Kief was the emperor of the parking lot and carpool, and for all those years, Kief has been the heart and soul of Hockaday,” said Headmistress Liza Lee. “He has given us lessons in grace, lessons in courtesy, and lessons in love.”

GoFundMe Campaign Page

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