Educator of the Year

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In this essay I could tell you that my teacher is everything that a good teacher should be. I could say he assigns us homework so we master the skills we‘ve learned in class. I could say he gives us pop quizzes and extra credit projects just to see if we’re paying attention to what he says in class, but that would be a lie. My teacher isn’t everything a good teacher should be, he is everything an exemplary teacher should be. This teacher I speak of is my band director, Mr. Cantagallo. He is the band director at Hawthorn Middle North for the sixth, seventh and eighth grade bands. He is also one of the cross country coaches, an athletic director, a music teacher at our school, the jazz band director for our school , and a trumpet player in a band that recently played at our school’s battle of the bands. He is an expecting father, a NASCAR enthusiast, and my Girl Scout silver award advisor.

Mr.Cantagalo directs three bands. The 6th grade band, the 7th/8th grade band, and the jazz band. This means he has triple the job. I think he likes it though. He gets to tell his funny stories two times a day! Mr. Cantagalo always has the funniest stories. When we are tired in band, he tells us them to give our chops a rest. My favorite story is the story about his band director letting him spend the whole day hauling stands over to his school from the high school. Whenever he describes musical notes, he doesn’t just say make it shorter he says instead , splat splat make it short bop. When we asked him what splat was he was like when you get a wet paper towel and throw it up against the wall. That is what splat sounds like. Mr. Cantagalo’s class is never boring. I never dread going to band because I know something funny will most likely happen. Don’t get me wrong, band isn’t a mad house. Band is a fun class that we learn a lot in and make a lot of friends in. The atmosphere he creates in band makes you just feel free to express yourself. Which in greater terms helps us bond with our band mates better. Most all of my friends are in band and its probably because we have that bond from this class.

Mr.Cantagalo is also a cross country coach. Many of the students who participate in cross country are his band students as well. He loves running and he is always very zealous and I think that’s what makes him a good cross country coach. He is always a good role model and is very committed as well. I think that its good he is involved in so many kids’ lives. Mr.Cantagalo is just a super good person with a passion for music and he is using it to help others build their music experience.

If I had to pick Mr.Cantagalo’s favorite genre of music, I would say it would be jazz. He is the director of our jazz band. If he didn’t have a passion for it, we wouldn’t have a chance to play jazz music because he started the club. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning Mr. Cantagalo has jazz band. I’m in it and its always an enjoyable experience. He provides so much information to us and lets us play really fun songs. I never really liked jazz until this year. I’m glad I joined and I’ll be doing it next year because of the awesome experience I got this year. I discovered a new passion and I have him to thank for that!

Just what we need another trumpet player in this world! Ugh. No I’m just kidding Mr.Cantagalo is a spectacular trumpet player. He has spunk and he doesn’t halt and turn a dark shade of crimson, he just keeps playing he always tells us, when you’re driving a racecar and you make a mistake you can’t think “Oh my gosh, I just messed up!” You have to just keep going and not think about the mistake, just pretend it never happened and people won’t notice. It’s really helpful advice and I find I use it a lot.

Some might laugh and say ha why is that guy helping out the Girl Scouts. I have to admit when I was considering him to be my advisor, I was skeptical. I asked myself, would he really want to do this? When I asked him he was honored and really enthusiastic. Its really gratifying to work with him on this project because he is always asking me like “Am I doing everything I’m supposed to?” and stuff like “just let me know if I’m slacking off with my job.” It’s really nice working with him and I’m really glad I decided to pick him to work with.

The best thing about Mr.Cantagalo is that he wants us to use what we learn in band and apply it to our lives outside of band. On our 1st day of band he said we have a drum set from Walter Payton back there. That drum set was his and even when he was working really long days and really hard he would just come down and just practice those drums. No matter how busy he was, he would practice. He told us no matter how busy we are, it’s always good to have something there to stick with and learn and love to do. Even if it’s not a top priority it’s still good to have that there. My first day of band was over a year ago and I still remember that because it’s the most important thing he has ever said to us. If you ever read this Mr. Cantagallo, you are a brilliant educator and musician and I want you to know how much I appreciate all you do so I want to say Thank You!

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owapapercut said...
Sept. 14, 2009 at 6:38 pm
Actually...his favorite genre of music is rock, particularly Van halen....
But it's pretty good.
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