Educator of the Year

April 28, 2011
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As an individual you’re always striving to be more than what you already are. Then there’s that person who’s pushing you to become better and showing you the path you can take to achieve your goal. Mrs. Letts was that person for me. She wasn’t ‘just a band teacher’, she was the person who has made me the clarinet player and person I am right now.
Mrs. Letts was my band teacher during my 7th and 8th grade years. One of the many things she had us learn and memorize were our scales. Another thing she enforced onto us were the practice sheets. Despite my utter dislike of both they were ultimately what helped me become a better player. If it weren’t for her strict enforcement of both, I wouldn’t be able to do half of the things I’ve been able to do and will be able to do.
An ultimate fear of mine had been playing with a small group of people in front of a large group of people. Mrs. Letts seemed to notice this because soon enough I found myself involved in the Spaghetti Dinner Night, Café of the Arts, and the Book Fair. Even though I was playing with about four or five other clarinet players on every occasion, it was still a major thing in my mind at least. If Mrs. Letts hadn’t signed me up for those events, I would still be unaware of how exciting and fun it actually can be to perform in a small group.
Being part of a higher level band was always something that had interested me, but yet I never really tried to get involved with any of it. In the beginning of my 7th grade year I didn’t qualify for the honor band, but the next go around Mrs. Letts put me into honor band. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but apparently I deserved a high enough grade to get in. 8th grade year I made it in no problem, and this time Mrs. Letts offered the Jr. All-State Band to me. All-State Band is a band of about a hundred some members who audition all throughout the state. With the help and support of Mrs. Letts I was able to make it into All-State. My All-State experience made such an impression that I also tried out in my 9th grade year and I was able to get in as well. Without Mrs. Letts I would have never known about this and would have missed out on so much.
I could go on and on about the other band oriented things Mrs. Letts has helped me with, but as I said before, she’s not ‘just a band teacher.’ During the summer before my 8th grade year I went on a Lead America Conference in Washington, D.C. It was a ten day program that focused on building character, team work, and leadership skills. In order to go you had to be recommended by an individual. It could be a teacher, counselor, coach, anything. Low and behold Mrs. Letts was the one who nominated me. She gave me the opportunity of a life time, and I was able to take it because of her.
I’ve always wondered what my life would be like if I hadn’t had Mrs. Letts as my teacher. For one I wouldn’t have made the friends I made in band. Another is that all of the experiences I went through, performing in front of others, auditioning for higher leveled bands, building my leadership skills, and much more would have never happened if Mrs. Letts didn’t take the time and effort to offer all of those opportunities to me. I am truly grateful that I was able to have Mrs. Letts as a teacher; she has made such a great impact on my life, not only as a musician but as an individual as well.

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