I love that app TimeHop. I love that it reminds me of some of the events of my past that I might have forgotten. I was reminded this week about at concert that I had three years ago. As I continue on in my teaching career I am finding it harder to say goodbye to my eighth grade students each year. This particular TimeHop post about my first ever Spring Concert at Sequoyah brought to mind on special young man that has left an imprint on my life.
For the purpose of this blog, we shall call this young man "Bob." "Bob" was an eighth grader my first year at Sequoyah, which also happened to be my first year teaching (there will be a post dedicated to that scary first year later). The eighth grade students that I had in class that year, had a rough time with choir in the past. I was the fifth teacher in five years at my site. So my eighth graders that had been involved in choir since they were in sixth grade had a different teacher each year. Needless to say this year was a challenge. But those students were amazing! Bob was super talented and I saw so much potential for greatness in him. He was kind, compassionate, courageous, and adventurous, He quickly became a leader in my classroom. He had some struggles in the past academically but now all of the sudden he was becoming super successful in his core classes. Any chance he had to participate in anything extra related to choir, solo and ensemble, audition for All State, OU Men's Day, he did it. Then it came time for the end of year, and time for him to leave.
He auditioned for Show Choir for what was then called South Indeterminate High School. I remember helping with auditions and seeing him, he wouldn't give up until he got that dance audition down! When I posted the list and found out that he had made it, he started to have doubts and he wanted to quit choir and not be in show choir for the next year. I told him to think long and hard about it. I told him that he has so much talent and so much potential for greatness and if he quit choir it would be the biggest regret of his life. He told me that he was scared and he was comfortable, and he didn't want to get out of his comfort zone. I encouraged him to try it one year, if he didn't like then he could quit. But he was not quitting now! He didn't quit. His life has been changed and it has been better because he had the opportunity to be in music.
He is now a junior and since I had him as an eighth grader he has gone on to be in show choir at the I-High level, this year was in Tiger Rhythm Show Choir, he was in jazz choir, he has acted in plays with Broken Arrow Public Schools in community theater, he was recognized as an outstanding Fine Arts student at his school site as a sophomore, has competed at State OSSAA Solo and Ensemble contest, and he made the OkMEA All State Mixed Chorus this year. When I was in Keller with Tiger Rhythm over the past weekend I looked on with tears as he performed a solo with such joy. "Bob" by all accounts shouldn't be college bound. But he is!!!! He talks so often about studying music and theater in college and helping other kids just like him.
There are so many other important people that played a part of his story, but I'm going to mention three. Kathy Williams, thank you for encouraging him to love poetry, write creatively, and think outside the box. Vonna Stout and Justin Rosser, thank you for loving my boy. For caring for him, for making him stronger, and encouraging him as a musician and a leader.
His story isn't over yet, He is just a junior and he as one more year in BAPS Vocal Music. I can't wait to see what "Bob" is going to do over the next year and in his future.
Some would say that I changed his life, but I say I was at the right place and the right time. If anything, he has changed my life. I always tell my eighth grade students on their last day of class to go out and make me proud. "Bob" you make me exceedingly proud every day.