You know, as directors, we rarely stop and look back at all that we have accomplished. I’m not talking about the occasional “Excellent” or “Superior” rating at a Festival or the 1st or 2nd place trophies at a Marching Contest. I’m talking about those awards (or rewards) that usually are given privately and confidentially. The most sincere forms of adulation, gratitude, admiration, and respect that the profession of “Educator” produces in some cases but not nearly enough in most cases. We know what we signed up for… It is often a very stressful, low paying, seemingly thankless job.
But every now and then God sends us a rose. This rose is not a rose in the literal sense but a “token”… or a beacon of light.. that lifts us up and dusts us off and pushes us to keep fighting for one more year… then another… and then yet another… This rose may be a student coming back years after graduation and thanking you for the impact you made on their life. A student living in poverty earning a band scholarship to college. A mentor, or someone you value greatly, giving you a nod of approval after witnessing your group for the first time. Or…. A complete stranger doing something like this:
“I wish to write and share my recent encounter with the Twiggs County High School band. My children attend First Presbyterian Day School, having been transferred there this year out of the Bibb County School District. My youngest son plays in the band, and so it was that I was in attendance at TCHS’s recent football game against FPD.
I must tell you that the band, led by Mr. Stackhouse, was absolutely fantastic. Not only was their marching crisp, but their playing was clean and powerful and the routine brought down the house. The students were extremely well behaved and represented your school in a way that you would be most pleased. I spoke with Mr. Stackhouse at the game and he explained that his program is quite young. I wish to commend Mr. Stackhouse for his masterful teaching which is so obvious by the work I saw on the field. Knowing that the majority of his students will be with him for 3 and 4 more years, I can’t imagine what a powerhouse this might be in the near future. You have secured a true gem in Mr. Stackhouse and I encourage you to continue to throw your support behind him and into his program.
I have copied the members of the Twiggs County School board on this message because I want them to know how encouraged I am by their support for this program. When other districts around the state continue to dismantle their music programs, Twiggs has shown that they understand how vital the arts are not only to the life and culture of a school, but to retention, progression and graduation rates. Data clearly shows that music students graduate on time, with higher GPA’s, higher SAT’s, higher levels of college acceptance, and to higher quality schools than most other student subgroups. Successful, forward-thinking school districts encourage artistic participation from their students because they know it’s a win-win situation. So, many thanks to Twiggs for being a leader in this area. I might encourage you to continue to expand your music/art/theatre offerings at both TCMS and TCHS.
Please know that the music faculty at Macon State College and Middle Georgia College, soon to be consolidated into Middle Georgia State College, stand by ready to assist however we may as the arts flourish at TCHS. Dr. Alan Clark is our instrumental specialist and I know he will be a great resource for Mr. Stackhouse. Again, many thanks and hearty kudos to Mr. Stackhouse and his delightful students.
Associate Professor of Music – Coordinator of Music, President: Georgia Chapter, National Association of Teachers of Singing Macon State College Department of Media Culture and the Arts – 100 College Station Drive Macon, GA 31206″
So colleagues… As the saying goes… “Smell your roses while you’re still here.” Enjoy them because they are precious and meaningful to you. They represent the exact reason you got into this profession and they are the very things that lift you when you’ve fallen. After years of awards, ratings, assessments, and grand performances, In the end, your roses will be all that you want to take with you when you leave.