My High School Band Director Is My Favorite Teacher

I wanted to share my story of my favorite teacher during teacher appreciation week.  My start to high school was very interesting because my freshman year was spent in SLD (slow learner disability) classes because from an educational standpoint, I was behind the other students.   However, I was pretty talented in music, but the band program at the time was going through a leadership change, it was quite disorganized, lacked a plan, and no support system.  However, as luck would have it, the high school was closed, and I was redistricted to Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Florida where my education along with my musical life changed for the positive.

My routine was changed, and this interruption was positive, it really shaped my life.  Those that molded my life were my parents, guidance counselors, and the high school band director.  How my life shifted is when my guidance counselor was very interested in my success; she made sure I was placed in the right classes with the right teachers, established tutors for me, and kept my parents updated on my progress.  My band director Mr. Womack established that our education was just as important as our musical ability.  To this day, Mr. Womack is my favorite teacher ever in life because he simply believed in me.  While Mr. Womack was teaching us music, theory, drills, and formations, he taught me routine, discipline, and accountability.  Mr. Womack also taught us that “only perfect practice makes perfect,” “to be early is to be on time – to be on time is to be late,” and that teamwork was required to ensure that the marching band would be a complete unit.  I learned early on that CHANGE is good because the change in the high school’s genuinely transformed my life.  Blanche Ely High School is a predominantly African American high school, and the marching tigers have always been a very diverse group of students.  Mr. Womack once said that “when we put on our Marching Tigers band uniform, we are all one,” and this resonates with me to this day in professional and personal settings.  The main reason he is my favorite teacher because he gave us life lessons before we even knew we needed them.

My experience at Blanche Ely High School was memorable. I really appreciate my band director, Mr. Womack, who was a “teacher” of music but, most importantly, a “teacher” of life.  I thank him for believing in me all while he challenged me to be a better student and person.  He also was instrumental in helping me secure a music scholarship to attend Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida, which was life-changing.  I am forever grateful.  – Mary K

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