TOLONO, Ill. (WCIA) — Unity High School is renaming its welding shop to the Kenneth Roellig Welding Shop, honoring a retired teacher for his longtime dedication to thousands of students.

“It’s a big honor for me,” Kenneth Roellig said, “considering that I came from being a teacher. I became Principal Superintendent of the district, and then went back to the classroom before I retired.”

Roellig taught for more than 30 years. He spent part of that serving as coordinator for the Local 380 union, and he was the spark behind getting the shop supplied.

“They needed a facility. He offered up the facilities here at Unity High School. Unit 7 schools were happy to oblige,” Principal Bill Behrends said. “He worked with people who were studying to be ironworkers and had taught them the basic math that they needed to be able to get into the trade.”

It was part of Roellig’s plan to expand opportunities for younger generations.

“I think that we have a lot of students who do not wish to go on to college. They want to get into the job market and I think we have to provide opportunities for them to be able to do that,” Roellig said.

He spent three decades fostering a lifetime of opportunity for his students, both past and present. On Wednesday night, Unity High School gave thanks to Roellig by presenting him with a plaque.

“It gives me the feeling that they appreciated what I did and how I did it,” Roellig said.