As this 2018 school year closes and the graduates move on to their next chapter of their life story, so do many teachers who will retire.
Those teachers who dedicated their days to not just educate, but moreover to motivate young people are also graduating again, into life. They encouraged those students to not be wiser, but simply be the best people they could be.
Those teachers model social grace and the moral compass of societal norms for all those young people in their charge, those teachers perform consistently, with diligence and with an overall nurturing affect. They love what they do. It is omnipresent.
The successful teacher rules their classroom through mutual respect. The most powerful of educator motivates others through their own passions and sometimes, merely their presence upped the ante to become a life altering experience to the student.
One of the retiring teachers this year, I grew up with. He had accomplished what many of us young musicians wanted to do… He became the band director at our alma mater.
For Don Green, coming back to Yough High School to build upon a legacy of musical excellence is now his own branding …the next level up as he is moving on. Don motivated students by “doing”. He is more than a band director, he’s a human doing…doing what the music motivated him to do and that was geared to what is best for his program. Always.
Don’s come a long way since 8th grade when we played Dixieland tunes from combo books he’d bring in from his father’s library while we would sight read them in the instrument storage room. He of course was a much better sight-reader than I. 🙂
It was moments like that or later in our academic career where he was “the face” of the Cougar Marching Band as the drum major that stand out as parts of the band room . His leadership skills and drive was clearly evident even back then. Fast forward 30+ years and many of us alumni return once a year to play in the Yough alumni jazz band. Again, an idea of Don’s and one that has created an expected yearly event of fun and musical enrichment with 2 nights of young musicians from across south western PA showing their skills to their family and communities.
Don reminded us at the last rehearsal of the Yough Alumni Jazz Band, in April, that the memories of the band room are unique to each one of us, we take a piece of the band room with us through life. “That little piece of the room goes with you”.
In the picture that Don shared on his Facebook (above), it spoke volume of the power of that band room. The piece of the band room that Don takes with him may be larger than most of us other alumni, but I think you’d agree…he has earned that.
So Thank you Don for sharing your passion… 3 decades plus and the other 6 years we spent in school as students together at Yough. Thanks for sharing what you love with as many as you have and even myself, asking me to came back to write the marching band show for the past 4 seasons as well as perform in the alumni jazz band. we never forget where we have come from.
As Don Green steps off the podium, he is still taking a piece of the band room with him, but he is leaving behind much, much larger pieces to share in the future.