by Brittany Hall
The jingle of loose change and keys was barely audible from the far end of the hall, but I knew without a doubt who it was. I waited patiently for his smiling face to peek around the corner. As he approached, I sensed the love he had for his job and for all the people involved. Who is this man? This is the teacher I hold closest to my heart, Mr. O.
If you were to see him in a crowd, he wouldn’t catch your eye. You probably wouldn’t give him a second glance. His hair is only a dark ring above his ears, but to his students, looks aren’t important. Standing only inches above me, his height doesn’t hint at how much he’s admired. The thing that makes him so great is his huge heart. It isn’t his outer appearance that I picture in my mind when I think of Mr. O. It’s the love and respect he displays for his students.
Mr. O. can make anyone feel special. He starts sharing his love with first through fifth graders at Caneyville Elementary School in Kentucky. Mr. O. doesn’t stop there; he stays after school and continues to work with middle and high school students. He takes time out of every day to help others. He’s the first to arrive at school and the last to leave, commuting two hours to work.
When I was his student, my favorite part of the day was music class. Mr. O. has the ability to add life to any ordinary piece of music and make it extraordinary. But it isn’t just his love for music that he left with me; it is the will to succeed.
The first time my lips touched a saxophone, it sounded like a big semi truck blowing its horn, loud and harsh. But Mr. O. nodded approvingly. He knew how hard I was trying, which was more important to him than the sound.
He never underestimated any of his students. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t play something, he practiced with me and made suggestions until I could play a difficult piece with ease. Our elementary band played middle school music in the fifth grade!
When I was having a rough day, he put a smile on my face. I can only hope that someday, someone will look up to me as much as I look up to him. If you asked me who I consider to be my hero, you wouldn’t hear me name a celebrity or someone famous. I would say the music teacher at Caneyville Elementary School.
He taught me everything I know about music and so much more. He made me believe that I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it. He touched my life and I will always carry him in my heart. I am the person I am today because of him.