"All I ever wanted to do was to teach music,” said Dr. John Long, a winner from Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, AL, on the awards website. “ I would rather teach than eat when I was hungry. I have tried to reach students of all abilities through great works of music and to make an impression on them that would last for the rest of their lives.”
Testimonies from students also highlight the importance of arts education and quality teachers.
“I was on a path to jail,” Dwayne Batiste said. “Then I was assigned to Mrs. Donna Porter’s Oral Communications class. Today, I am completing my second year of college, with the goal to finish my degree and teach. I tell my story to educators and students about a teacher who noticed me for just 90 seconds.”
Educators from any subject are eligible for the honor, and recipients receive a $10,000 grant, provided by chairman of the licensing group Music Theatre International, Freddie Gershon, and his wife Myrna. Nominations for the 2013 awards will start on September 4.
“Musicals in Our Schools” week also honors Sondheim’s birthday. The March 19 kickoff in Manhattan’s Duffy Square marked the beginning of a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of arts education in public schools.
A list of winners is below.
Chris Bundy of Floyd Central High School in Floyds Knobs, IN
Vincent Catano of Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury, MA
Christopher Collins of Rains High School in Emory, TX
Amy Gibson of Huntingtown High School in Huntingtown, MD
Richard Golenko of J. Frank Dobie High School in Houston, TX
Dr. Riffat Hassan of the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY
Dr. John M. Long of Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, AL
Donna Porter of Picayune Memorial High School in Picayune, MS
Nicole Waicunas of Edwin O. Smith High School in Storrs, CT
Roderick Zano of Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, VA.