Mr. Riddle is a legend at Westmont High School and I heard this over and over again from his former students- some of which were not even in the band. He taught and was the band director for 18 years and last Friday many of his former students filled the band room to surprise him to celebrate him and celebrate his retirement. He walked in to a huge cheer and then a silent hand waving cheer (his signature cheer). There were tears, tons or laughter, so many hugs, & then after a "yearbook group shot" he conducted the band for old times sake. Mr. Riddle clearly was more than just a teacher or band director as his former students shared what having his leadership meant to them. It was a special night of people celebrating each other- THIS is why I love this work- I am invited to capture these beautiful moments. And when Mr. Riddle said how grateful he is for his wife Jen and all those who came to thank him you would be correct to assume I teared up from behind my lens.
I will say it again- teachers in my book are the unsung (and under paid) heroes of our world. Maybe it is because I spent years teaching here in the states in Chicago and overseas in Tanzania, East Africa so I do know how much of your very self you give to your students, The time & energy good teachers put in t their job should be celebrated! As I substitute teach these days I get to see the investment many teachers are making everyday in their students- loving them well and calling them in being the young adults and people they CAN be. I am so glad Mr. Riddle felt the love in that room. May we all take the time to celebrate those who impact our lives in big and small ways. From this band geek for life to all the others- thank for inviting me to capture these moments!