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Taylor Swift’s elementary school teachers “beyond proud” of her success


By Nikki DeMentri

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    PHILADELPHIA (KYW) — On Friday at midnight, Taylor Swift dropped her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” nearly breaking the internet after surprising fans with a double record two hours later.

Two of her former teachers said they could not be prouder to see where the 34-year-old is today.

No matter how much time has passed, Barbara Kolvek still beams with pride as she talks about the hundreds of students she taught over her career.

“She always was writing poetry, always. Even in music class, even when she shouldn’t,” Kolvek said with a laugh.

The retired music teacher – living now in Little Egg Harbor — had the global popstar in class from first through fourth grade at the Wyndcroft School in Pottstown.

“I did give her her very first singing solo!” Kolvek said with a smile, “‘Fast Talk Freddie,’ I believe it was called.”

Laid out on a table in her music room were yearbooks, a signed T-shirt, a stuffed snowman Swift gifted to her and other mementos. Kolvek could not help but smile when talking about Swift.

For a while, the two stayed in touch, mostly over email.

“I feel like maybe I gave her a little spark or encouragement to do what she was doing,” Kolvek said.

In Douglassville, Pennsylvania, Heather Brown is reminiscing with her 21-year-old son, Ethan. Although she has moved on from teaching at the private school, Swift was in her very first class. Brown taught third grade back then.

“[She] probably doesn’t get the messages anymore, but I still send her a Christmas card every year. I still write her notes and congratulate her,” Brown said.

Her son, Ethan, showed off a shirt with an iron-on photo he proudly wore to the Era’s Tour.

“I didn’t have any like glitter or any of that to wear – one of the eras. So I made this shirt, you know, walking around feeling like I was the tallest man in the world,” Ethan said with a smile.

The picture on the shirt is of him, at four years old, sitting next to Swift as a teenager. It was taken in the Reading Fightin Phillies dugout right before the Berks County native sang the national anthem in 2007.

“Every student has a special quality. And you always remember every student from the quality they have. Taylor’s quality was just being she was one of those students where people just drew to,” Brown said.

Both teachers want their former student to know, they are cheering her on back at home.

“Everything she touches turns to gold. And I’m just so excited to see what comes next,” Brown said. “When she comes out on stage and everyone’s screaming ‘Taylor,’ it’s like, oh my gosh, like I was her teacher!”

“I would say how proud I was of her and that she has never lost her focus and she’s never lost the real person that she is,” Kolvek said. “She’s always been very honest and open, and I admire that in her.”

Oh, and one more message to Taylor from Ethan – the little boy who helped her throw out the first pitch years ago.

“Do you want to sing at my wedding?” Ethan asked.

She might have a song or two for that.

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