Remember Me

Just finished two shows: a private party for my boss, and a return to the Blue Plate Café in Plainville, since the place loved us last month! As I get home at 3:30 on this Sunday morning, I realize that I have 5 hours until I move-in to college, to start the next journey of my life. Before I leave (even though I will still be blogging), I want to say thank you to ALL my teachers in my 12 years of public schooling that have loved me, helped me, shared successes with me, and most importantly, taught me what I needed to succeed in life, as well as helped me discover that my heart was telling me I want to be a teacher one day, because I have a calling, which is what the teaching profession is.
Thank you to Mrs. Effrece (kindergarten), Mrs. Carter (first grade), Mrs. Matozzo (second grade), Mrs. Kane (third grade), Mrs. Giglio (fourth grade), Mrs, Garbus (fifth grade).
Thank you to my middle school teachers in 6th grade: Mr. Jones (Science), Mrs. Rosa (student council advisor), Mrs. Mascetti-Johnson (English/Language Arts), Mrs. Cox (Math), Mrs. Goodman (Geography), Mrs. Conway (Geography), Mrs. Cordone (library media specialist and best friend), and the others I did not have, but have crossed paths with.
Thank you to my middle school teachers in 7th grade: Mr. Rocca (Science), Mrs. Simon (English/Language Arts), Mr. Richardson (Math- I had him my 8th grade and freshman year in high school), Miss Wry (World History), Mrs. Parkesoewich (Spanish and homeroom teacher), Mrs. Skrebutennas (Music), Mrs. Barra (general music), and the others I did not have, but have crossed paths with.
Thank you to my middle school teachers in 8th grade: Mr. Fish (Math), Mr. Carr (U.S. History), Mrs. Matfus (Writing), Mrs. Stevenson (Reading), Mr. Ligi (Science), and the others I did not have, but have crossed paths with.
Lastly, thank you to the best high school teachers I had: Mr. Richardson, Mrs. Kremens (Spanish), Mrs. Mobley (guidance counselor for all four years), Miss Romeo (Science), Mr. Forgione (Physical Education), crazy but lovely Mrs. MacLennan (English), Miss Hart (Spanish), Ms. Wilson (English), Miss Stabile (Math), Mrs. Brown (Physical Education), Mr. Pape (Civics and U.S. History), Mr. Jaselavic (Science, and I apologize if I did not spell your name right!), Mr. Morgan (U.S. History, and he let me teach his classes about Music History!), Mr. Jayson (Math), Miss DiVirgillio (Spanish), Mr. Clement (Music), Mr. Pennington (Science), Mr. Waitkus (Math), Mrs. Nevins (UCONN ECE U.S. History), Mr. Balanda (AP Political Science), Mrs. Thies (Capstone Project), Mr. Niemitz (English), and the others I did not have, but have crossed paths with.
Notice how I did not say my junior year English teacher, Mrs. Pelkey. That is because I had an unpleasant and bad experience with her. People who have had experiences similar to this in their life in some form can understand. Most importantly and ironically, she taught me a valuable lesson: how not to treat my students when I am a teacher. For that lesson, I can finally say thank you to her. However, she was an excellent English teacher.
To those teachers, please remember me from the list of your students for the rest of your lives, as I will remember you all for the rest of my life.
In five hours, is when I am moving in to college. As is always the case, I become a bit reflective as I sit down at my desk writing this post, as it is dark outside.  This is a traditional thing for me–I like it that way, to be honest.  Me doing this … ok, it is a little weird; and, I will give you that.  However, for some reason, I am able to use this time to be deep in my thoughts about the past few years I spent of my educational career that is about to pass into the history books in five hours, and about a very special group of people.
Those people are: the people I worked with in the high school band in the music department.
Anyone who spends countless hours in a music room in every conceivable type of weather doing one of the most physically demanding activities known to man, has a right to be happy, thrilled and ecstatic that it is about to come to an end.  Yet, every year there are tears in the eyes, if not falling down the faces, of each band member.  The realization that a huge part of WHO they are is coming to an end hits, and it hits hard.  Sure there were hard rehearsals, of course there was frustration at times, and yes, there were days you did not want to be in music anymore.  Now, facing “the final curtain,” people find themselves wishing to be a rookie again, wishing they could do it all over again, because it all happened far too fast.  More time? Please? Can we have more time?!
“Regrets. I have had a few,” is how another stanza of that song goes; and yes, I am sure every member of the Wolcott High School band, from the 32 years of Mr. Duffy and now with Mr. Clement as the teacher, as had one or two of these moments over the years.  Regrets, are not what the band members are focusing on right now.  They are thinking about the first band rehearsal, the first friend and friends they made they will probably keep for the rest of their adult lives, their first overnight trip sleeping on a floor, mixing with UMASS and watching two grown adults (Brandon Stalcup and I) acting like little kids, each band being embarrassed by their respective director, and both directors looking at each other, laughing harder.
The memories are endless for this year’s Wolcott High School senior class just as they are endless for every class and student that came before and will be for class and students yet to come. There is no other organization in high school, college, and in the world (besides the Boy Scout program) that goes out its way to provide as many experiences as possible for the members; those experiences are not to be had anywhere else on campus, school or in the hearts of everyone in the “organization” of: MUSIC.
THAT is my goal, THAT is what drives me, and THAT is why I am a musician year after year.  To see their faces when they are living IN THE MOMENT, is no greater joy for me.
So, to the seniors and EVERYONE in the Wolcott High School music program, here is your to do list for the final weekend before you head to school and for the rest of your life (if pertains to it):
  • Make eye contact with those around you, and “be in it WITH” them;
  • Meet a few new people in band you have not met yet;
  • Cheer for the band, the cheerleaders, dance team, mascots, AND EACH OTHER;
  • Thank your music teacher, and a staff member;
  • Thank a rookie;
  • Hug your friends;
  • Thank your parents;
  • Enjoy each, and every moment of the experience, because it only happens once each year.
Lastly, if you have learned anything this past year from me as your drum major, I hope it was the following that I always say to everyone I meet in this world:
  • To love what you do;
  • To love each other;
  • To love yourself.
You are now in charge of making the Wolcott High School band program a success that will be a difference in your life, and in the lives of others. I did my time and left my legacy.
I have to do the same in college. So, with that, I am passing the torch to you. It is your turn to do it in high school. Have a good year! Good Luck and GO WOLCOTT EAGLES- EYES WITH PRIDE!

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