By Amanda Browning
Greensburg Daily News
---- — GREENSBURG – Students in grades six through eight at Greensburg Junior High School (GJHS) who didn’t miss any assignments during a two week period were given the opportunity to attend the “Concert of a Lifetime” on Nov. 27.
Special guest performers surprised students with the fact that they were actually their classroom teachers. In fact, GJHS Principal Matt Clifford played lead guitar in the band, along with teacher Nick Parcell who acted as bass player, Brian Messer, parent of an 8th grade student who played drums and teachers Matt Slaven and Dennis Spears who were lead singers.
The band played four popular songs for the assembled GJHS students, including the YouTube sensation “What Does the Fox Say?” as an encore. During the final song, teachers Josh Teague, Justin Tucker, John Tindall, Paula Hatfield, Stacie Reisman, Sarah Heppner, Sonja Linvill, Darci Kovacich, and Lisa Schwering joined the band, adding a choreographed dance routine and a healthy dose of comedy to the performance. Art teacher Jennifer Robbins made the costumes worn by teachers.
“We try to reward students for academic success as well as good behavior as often as we can,” stated Debbie Smith, GJHS assistant principal and mastermind behind the reward concert. “It’s important for students to have a goal and motivation to do well, and this concert has been the biggest reward activity that we have put together for our kids so far.”
If the energy among the students is any indication, they will be motivated to continue completing all their assignments for some time. Students were singing and dancing along with their teachers and at several points, the teachers involved the audience, asking them to sing or scream the loudest.
“There isn’t anything that our teachers and staff wouldn’t do for our kids,” said Clifford. “The dedication that they have to help our students be successful is unbelievable.”
Clifford reported that all the teachers involved spent months practicing their routine in their spare time. He went on to add that the event wouldn’t have been possible without the professional grade sound and lighting equipment provided by Brian Messer and his company, Clear Sound. Brian is the father of eighth grade student Miles Messer. Both Brian and Miles played drums during the concert, with Miles playing during the encore.
“I know that many teachers spend countless hours here before, during and after school, some very early in the morning and some very late at night. When asked if they would be willing to put in extra time to prepare for this reward program, the teachers approached it with a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude,” Clifford said. “I am very grateful to be surrounded by the staff that we have here at GJHS.”
With the light and sound making the event a true concert experience, the students were able to celebrate all of their hard work during the nine weeks. A wonderful time was had by all and memories were no doubt cemented in the minds of all who attended. The teachers and staff, along with the students of GJHS, are looking forward to their next motivational incentive with great anticipation.
Photos and video from this event may be found at www.greensburgdailynews.com/photos. A gallery called “GJHS Concert of a Lifetime” will be located inside the “School” category.
Contact Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004; email@example.com