UVA alumni Dave and Stacy Bruns, the founders of the Charlottesville Day School – where Kahn has worked for the past 11 years – say Kahn is a one of a kind.
“More people know Meryl than any other teacher at this school,” Dave Bruns said. “They walk in and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen her at a UVA basketball or lacrosse game.’”
“CDS and UVA have become her families,” Stacy Bruns said.
Dave Bruns said Kahn’s attention to detail is remarkable.
“She knows everything – like whose mom had a baby, what kid didn’t sleep well the night before,” Bruns said. “If a door was left unlocked, she tells us.”
Megan Van Ornum, who teaches the “Grizzly Bears” – a 4- and 5-year old pre-kindergarten class that Kahn assists with – said that whether it’s helping with an art project or playing a board game, Kahn’s love for kids is what really stands out.
“She always greets them with a big smile or hug or ‘Welcome back!’ She just loves being with the kids,” Van Ornum said. “And she does a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that doesn’t always get appreciated that helps our classroom run smoothly.”
It was prior to the start of a Mendenhall radio show in December, when Koehn – just before the show started – told Kahn he had something for her. He reached into his bag and pulled out a few strands of confetti that he had saved from the basketball team’s win over Texas Tech in the championship game last spring.
Koehn had been meaning to give it to Kahn, who was unable to make the trip to Minnesota. The look on Kahn’s face as she accepted the gift was as if she had just been handed a block of gold.
Koehn chuckled when reminded of the story.
“The thing that always makes me laugh is that it doesn’t matter how a game went,” he said. “We could have totally stunk it up at some arena, but every time her greeting is the same. She’ll walk up to Tony or Bronco and say, ‘Coach, great, great game!’ You know, the coaches are as hard on themselves as anybody; they’ve broken down the film and it hasn’t been real pretty.
“But you can’t help but have your heart melt a little bit. Her support is just so unconditional. It’s really cool.”
Kahn, who walks to many of UVA’s games, smiled when asked what it’s like getting stopped by Bennett and Mendenhall on the street.
“They just wave and say, ‘Hi Meryl!’ I’ll be walking fast somewhere, and all of a sudden they’ll honk the horn. Sometimes it startles me.”
Ryan isn’t surprised so many people want to say hello.
“I would say people love her because she is extremely genuine,” she said. “You know her likes, you know her dislikes. She is just so real and loving and kind.
“And she is a loyal, loyal, loyal Virginia fan.”