Gaining iconic status takes authenticity and originality — qualities U.S. history teacher Bob Means had in abundance. Over his forty-plus years of teaching, Bob touched the lives of thousands of students with his ability to connect to individuals and inspire the best.
Core to Bob’s iconic legacy on the campus of Merced High School, in Merced, California, was his personal sense of style. Every day, Bob wore the same outfit: a flannel shirt, Levi’s® 501® jeans and a pair of Converse shoes. These pieces of clothing were such a part of him that Merced High School students refer to the ensemble as “Mr. Means’ Suit.”
Bob passed away in 2015, but his memory lives on at the school. Every year, on the first Friday of February — Bob Means Day — students, faculty and staff remember the beloved teacher by donning Levi’s 501® jeans, flannel shirts and Converse shoes. Just a few of the photos from this year’s Bob Means Day are included in this post.
“Bob’s outfit represented consistency — a consistency that went well beyond his personal style choice,” said fellow teacher Kurt Smoot. He was consistent in the way he connected with kids, colleagues and our Merced community.”
Following his passing, online tributes from students flooded social media. Reading through the tributes, it’s clear that Bob had high standards for himself, his colleagues and his students. He listened as much as he talked, which helped him to foster lasting personal relationships with his students. Bob believed that these personal relationships were critical in motivating his students to be the best they could be. Comments included details about his storytelling ability, smile, compassion, straightforward nature and, of course, Means’ jeans.
The kind of authenticity and purpose that Bob brought to his job and to his relationships with the kids at Merced High School should serve as an example to all of us. Whether it’s the 501s® we put on every morning, how we treat the planet, or what we bring to our community, there are things we can do every day to celebrate Bob’s legacy.
We’re honored to be part of Bob Means’ story in this small but personal way.
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