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Retiring educator rides Harley through schools on last day

By Jim Hagerty

STILLMAN VALLEY – The term “riding off into the sunset” has a slightly new meaning for a retiring elementary school principal.

That’s because Mike Coulahan did not do so on a horse last Friday. He rode through the halls of Highland Elementary School on his Harley Davidson Sportster before continuing toward the sunny days ahead.

Coulahan was the principal at Highland for 12 years, after spending 11 years as principal at Monroe Center Elementary, where he also spent an hour in the halls on his bike.

“I wanted to do something kind of cool that the students would always remember,” Coulahan said.”The students (were) so cute as they wish (ed) me well. “About 20 different second graders helped wash, polish, and wax the Sportster before taking the ride down the hall.”

At Monroe Center, school secretary, Kathy Bybee and Principal Sarah Hogan climbed on the Harley with Coulahan as students assembled outside the building.

Meridian Public Schools posted a video of Coulahan’s ride on on the district’s Facebook page to add to the two-wheeled sendoff.

“We all wish him the best as he rides off into retirement,” the district posted along with the clip.

Coulahan is also known as an area bass player. He’s helped front a number of rock, punk and blues bands over the years including the Blunatics and Boulas with the late Doug Furze. He is currently working on a local project called The Attitudes.

Coulahan has two more weeks of work before he’s officially retired. He’s then bound for Silicon Valley, Yosemite and Disneyland with his family. Then it’ll be more music, motorcycles, golf and whatever else retired educators do when they don’t have a new school year looming.

“I plan on doing those things for a while ’til my heart’s content,” he added. “I am not sure what the future holds. But for the first time in a few decades I’ll get to hang back and see what presents itself or what I choose to pursue for my next adventures.”

Coulhan also spent the last week of school giving away his neckties.

“Thank you students, teachers, staff, parents and everyone else that makes our Meridian schools great. – Mike” R.

This story has been updated.

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