A tribute to a beloved teacher

Out of the five choirs that Hillsboro could boast of, well, at least until the end of March, only the symphonic choir performed Tuesday night. The seventh and eighth grade choirs, and the men’s and women’s choruses stood mute, without a voice, their learning incomplete, ending two months early. There will be no final concert for them this year.

They did not have adequate musical instruction, because after the administration and school board fired their teacher, no one cared enough to make sure these kids were still learning. Their substitutes had little to no musical training, and that was before the kids were all sent to study halls. This I know as my daughter is one of those cheated students.

Only the symphonic choir performed last night, because those amazing young people took it upon themselves to continue singing after their teacher was fired. The members of the symphonic choir decided to take what they have learned from their music director and continue on. Christopher Jacky, a junior in high school, directed last night’s choir performance. They were spectacular.

I cannot begin to describe the dedication and resilience of David White’s students. Proof that, with the proper guidance and support, when you ask great things of our kids, they will rise to the occasion. They performed last night out of respect for their teacher, and out of respect for themselves, as vocalists.

I am so proud of those kids — proud to know them and proud to have witnessed their perseverance. However, when it comes to our school board and the Hillsboro City Schools administration, I am ashamed. Ashamed of this mess they have created, making a mountain out of a molehill, then using it to get rid of David White. How can the administration say that David White endangered our kids, but refuse to take responsibility for the fact that they subsequently left him in charge of those same kids for the next four days? If there was a question of my kids’ safety, why didn’t I get a call from the administration letting me know? If Tim Davis and Joe Turner truly believed that David White was putting my kids’ safety at risk, why aren’t they being reprimanded for neglecting their duty? And why is no one answering these questions?

This administration fired the musical director two months before school was out and nine days before the high school musical “Oklahoma!” opened. This administration deliberately put our kids through incredible turmoil and chaos, without a single thought for their well-being or their mental health. And when the community turned out at the April school board meeting to voice their support of David White, the board did not listen to the people whose interests they supposedly serve.

Last night’s concert was beautiful and bittersweet. The strength of spirit I observed in these young people was inspiring. In spite of everything the administration has done to these kids in the past five weeks, this choir rose above it, with courageous hearts and maturity beyond their years.

This performance happened because of David White. Because these kids will remember his teaching long after this administration and school board are gone. Because what David White does, matters.

This administration created this disharmony and grief, but the HHS Symphonic Choir turned it into a magnificent tribute to their beloved teacher.


Laura Pickering-Polstra