Muscle Shoals celebrates 83rd birthday of beloved teacher, viral dancing sensation

When he's not teaching, he's entertaining the kids with his signature dance moves.

Posted: Apr 29, 2021 5:22 PM
Updated: Apr 29, 2021 6:21 PM

Muscle Shoals celebrated the 83rd birthday of a beloved teacher who also happens to be a viral dancing sensation.

"He's an institution here at Muscle Shoals High School," says history teacher Brian Kilpatrick.

Paul Parker

Paul Parker, or Mr. Parker to those in the Muscle Shoals City Schools, has worked in the school system since 1974.

"From a teaching standpoint, you know, he's mentored a lot of people who are passionate about teaching. He obviously is," says superintendent Dr. Chad Holden.

He's taught everything from science to drama. Although he retired in 1997, he's still a substitute teacher, sometimes working five days a week.

"I just intend to keep on going as long as I can," says Parker.

Kilpatrick agrees and says, "He'll never stop, he's going to keep going 'til triple digits I think."

And when he's not teaching, he's entertaining the kids with his signature dance moves.

He calls it buck dancing, and makes sure to showcase his skills at all of the school pep rallies.

"He's the world to everybody here in Muscle Shoals, we just think the world of Paul Parker and you know, he's worldwide famous," explains Kilpatrick.

You may recognize those funky moves from a viral Facebook video. Over one year ago, two men in the UK started posting a video of Mr. Parker and two others dancing at a festival in Athens. The Facebook page is titled 'The same video of the same guys dancing to a different song everyday,' and some of the videos have upwards of 100,000 views.

"He's sensational to a lot of other people now, but he's always been sensational to us here in Muscle Shoals City Schools," says Dr. Holden.

On his birthday, he wore the signature brown shirt from his viral video.

But it's not the dancing that keeps him going in his 83rd year, it's the connections he's made through teaching.

"That's one of the perks of teaching, is to be able to be remembered 50 years later by some former student," says Parker.

The mayor of Muscle Shoals named Apr. 29 Paul Parker Day, so his teaching and dance moves will be remembered for years to come.

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