Teacher and Chronicler of the Dust Bowl Caroline Henderson

I love to share intriguing stories of dedicated educators who exhibit talents in arenas outside of the classroom. This one is about Caroline Boa Henderson, a high school English and Latin teacher who is also celebrated as an author of her personal Dust Bowl survival story.

Caroline Boa was born on April 7, 1877, in Wisconsin, the eldest daughter of affluent farmers. Even as a young girl, Caroline dreamed of someday owning a piece of land she could call her own.

After her high school graduation, Caroline attended Mt. Holyoke College, where she earned her degree in languages and literature in 1901. The new graduate accepted her first teaching position in Red Oak, Iowa, where she taught high school English and Latin from 1901 to 1903. She then taught in Des Moines, Iowa, until 1907. Then, in pursuit of her childhood dream, Caroline relocated to Texas County, Oklahoma, where she staked out a homestead claim on a quarter section of land and moved into a one-room shack which she christened her castle. There she accepted a teaching position in the local school.

In 1908, Caroline married named Bill Henderson, a Texas County farmer. The couple established a farm in nearby Eva, Oklahoma. The following year, Caroline gave birth to a daughter they named Eleanor. When Eleanor came of age, the youngster enrolled at the University of Kansas, where she eventually completed her bachelor’s degree. In order to help pay for Eleanor’s education, Caroline relocated to Lawrence, Kansas, where the two women shared an apartment while Caroline taught school part-time. During this period, Caroline also enrolled in graduate courses in English at the University of Kansas. In 1935, she completed the requirements for her master’s degree.

During the years from 1931-1937, at the height of the Dust Bowl, Caroline published a series of letters and articles in the prestigious magazine Atlantic Monthly. These letters and articles chronicled the grueling conditions faced by farmers who elected to remain on their farms during the severe conditions presented by the Dust Bowl drought, as harsh a natural disaster as any our nation has seen, even in recent years. She also included descriptions of daily life on her own farm, including her experiences with housekeeping, canning, cooking, tending her vegetable and flower gardens, ironing, and caring for her chickens. Her letters and articles earned her a national following, and were included in a PBS special on the Dust Bowl created by Ken Burns in 2012. To read some excerpts from these published pieces, click on the link Letters from the Dust Bowl.

This very amazing teacher and talented author passed away on August 4, 1966, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Physical Education Teacher and Olympic Athlete Dick Ault

There are many examples of fine educators who have distinguished themselves in the world of sports. Such is the case with Dick Ault, a high school physical education teacher who competed in the 1948 Olympics.

Richard “Dick” Francis Ault was born on December 10, 1925, in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, the son of the Herbert and Madeline (Dowling) Ault. After his graduation from Roosevelt High School in his home town, Dick attended the University of Missouri from 1946 to 1949. While there, he won the Big 6 title in the 220-yard low hurdles in both 1946 and 1947. In the seasons that followed, he garnered the Big 7 title in the same event in 1948 and 1949. He was also named the conference champion in the 440-yard dash in 1947 and 1949. In 1948, Dick competed in the London Olympic Games, finishing 4th in the 400-meter dash. In 1949, the former Olympic athlete competed in Oslo, Norway, where tied the world record in the 440-yard dash.

In 1950, Dick accepted a position as a teacher and coach at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois. While there, he led his cross country students to the state championship. In 1967, Dick was hired to be a physical education professor at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. There he coached several sports, including cross country, track, swimming, and golf. After a career spanning 29 years, he retired in 1996.

This chalkboard champion passed away from complications from diabetes at the age of 81 on July 16, 2007, in Jefferson City, Cole County, Missouri. For his outstanding achievements, Dick has earned many honors. He was inducted into the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame (1976), the University of Missouri Hall of Fame (1991), the Missouri State Sports Hall of Fame (1993), and the National Sports Hall Of Fame in Washington, DC (1999).

To read more about this amazing educator and athlete, click on this link: Dick Ault Obituary.

Honoring Talented High School Band Directors who Appeared in the New Year’s Day Rose Parade

In today’s blog post you can read more about the talented and dedicated band teachers who directed their students in this year’s New Year’s Day Rose Parade.

With appearances at five Disney theme parks and on five continents, the Pennsbury High School “Long Orange Line” Marching Band (above) hails from Fairless Hills, Pensylvania. The group was led by Band Director Mr. Frank Mazzeo. Frank earned his bachelors’s degree in music education from West Chester University and his master’s degree in music performance from Temple University. He has been a teacher in the Pennsbury School District since 1986. While there, he has implemented a 4-12 curriculum, initiated such programs as Pennsbury Community Band, the Symphonic Winds Soloist Competition, the Pennsbury Bands Festival at the Kimmel Center and Trenton War Memorial, the All Pennsbury Elementary Festival, the Pennsbury Middle School Honors Festival, the Pennsbury Summer Music Program, the Pennsbury Symphonic Orchestra, and the Pennsbury Symphony Orchestra.

Also traveling to Pasadena to appear in this year’s event was the Ronald Reagan High School Band (above) from San Antonio, Texas, led by Band Director Mr. Dan Morrison. Dan graduated from the University of Illinois with both his bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education. Impressively, he has garnered the Daniel J. Perrino School of Music Award for excellence in music education. The 300-member group from Reagan High School includes performing arts students pulled from color guard, choir, and dance classes, and outstanding musicians playing brass, woodwind, percussion, and orchestral instruments.

Making another appearance in this year’s Rose Parade was made by the Bands of Santiago Sharks (“BOSS”) (above) of Santiago High School, hailing from Corona, California. Two dedicated educators share the task of directing this impressive group. The first is Mr. Kris Parish. Kris earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Oral Roberts Uni­ver­sity in 1980, and his master’s in secondary education from Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity, San Bernardino, in 1985. Mr. Parish has served his entire  38-year teach­ing career in the Corona-Norco Uni­fied School Dis­trict. The other co-director is Mr. Joe Dudek. Joe graduated from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. He returned to CSUF to complete his master’s degree in instrumental music conducting in 1996. The BOSS is comprised of four large concert bands, three full jazz bands, a number of jazz combos and chamber ensembles, a drum-line, and an award-winning color guard.

Hailing from Saratoga Springs, Utah, was the Westlake High School Marching Thunder (above). This group was led by Mr. Brek Mangelson, Director of Bands. Brek  Mr. Mangelson earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Brigham Young University in 2006. In 2015, he completed the requirements for his master’s degree in instrumental conducting from the University of Utah. Westlake’s band was founded with just 40 members in 2009. This talented group has grown to over 170 members today. The Westlake Band is a two-time Utah State Marching Band Champion, and has been named a Bands of America regional finalist six times, while their color guard currently reigns as Utah Winter Guard State Champions.

Learn more about all the wonderful performers, participants, and floats,  featured in this year’s Rose Parade at this link: Rose Parade 2018 Lineup.

As Promised, More Great Band Teachers from this Year’s Rose Parade

Yesterday I described some truly great band directors who led their students in this year’s Rose Parade. There are so many of them, I couldn’t fit them all in one post. Here are some more.

An annual favorite since 1972, the Los Angeles All District High School Honor Band, directed by Mr. Anthony White, made its annual appearance in the Rose Parade. Pulled from all high schools in the LA Unified School District, these 250 or so young musicians are known for their energetic marching style, powerful brass and percussion sound, and for playing contemporary selections. Anthony, who is also a professional jazz musician, graduated from UC Riverside in Riverside, California, and earned his teaching credential at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, California.

The 215 members of the Lindbergh High School “Spirit of St. Louis” Marching Band traveled from St. Louis, Missouri, to make their school’s third appearance in the annual Rose Parade. This hardworking group of young people was led by Band Director Mr. David Wyss. David earned his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 2000, and his master’s in education from Southwest Baptist University in 2009. The Lindbergh students dedicated this year’s performance to their previous beloved band director, Mr. Bob Spiegelman, who passed away from lymphoma in 2011.

Also participating in the event was the 265-member Londonderry High School Marching Band and Color Guard hailing from Londonderry, New Hampshire. These stellar student musicians were led by Music Director Mr. Andy Soucy, a graduate of Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. This is the school’s fifth appearance in the Rose Parade, and under Andy’s leadership, the group has also played on the Great Wall of China in 2008 during the Beijing Olympics, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York, and both inaugurations of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

Band Director Mr. John Cisetti directed the Louisburg High School Marching Wildcat Band from Louisburg, Kansas, in their first appearance in the Rose Parade. This dedicated educator, who has led the Marching Wildcat Band for the past 39 years, attended the University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education, his master’s degree, and a degree as an educational specialist. Louisburg High sent 189 talented student musicians to Pasadena this year.

In tomorrow’s blog read the final installment of this year’s list of wonderful band directors who led their students in the 2018 Rose Parade! Learn more about all the wonderful performers, participants, and floats,  featured in this year’s Rose Parade at this link: Rose Parade 2018 Lineup.


Some of the Talented Band Directors who Led their Students in this Year’s Rose Parade

Another fabulous New Year’s Day Rose Parade has come and gone, and once again, I was completely impressed by the caliber of the musicianship displayed by our nation’s high school students, under the direction of some very talented professional band directors. Here are some of this year’s participants, listed in alphabetical order.

Leading the Air Academy High School Marching Band from Colorado Springs, Colorado, was Director of Bands Mr. Stoney Black. Stoney earned his bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance from Colorado’s Adams State College in 1994. In 1998, he earned a second bachelor’s in Music Education from Metropolitan State College in Denver, and he completed his master’s in conducting from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University in 2007. The Air Academy’s stellar band program, originally founded in 1957 with only 20 members, has grown to nearly 200 members today. This amazing group of young people has been recognized as Colorado State band champions ten times within the last two decades. The most amazing thing about them is that all Air Academy students are allowed to join the band without having to go through an audition, even if they have had no previous musical training.

Nearly 300 students who form the Albertville High School Aggie Band from Albertville, Alabama, also traveled all the way to Pasadena for the New Year’s Day event. This impressive group of musicians, color guard members, and dance line participants were led by Mr. Chris Lindley, who has been their band director for the past 21 years. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in music education at Jacksonville State University in 1996 and his master’s from the University of Alabama in 2004. Assisting Chris is Mr. Taylor Cash, a graduate of Jacksonville State University and Boston University with both a bachelor’s and a master’s in music education. Also assisting Chris is Missy Lindley, who earned her bachelor’s in music education from the University of North Alabama.

Also appearing in this year’s New Year’s Day Rose Parade was the Homestead High School Mighty Mustang Marching Band hailing from Cupertino, California, located about 40 miles south of San Francisco. This impressive group of student musicians was led by co-band directors Mr. John Burn, Music Department Curriculum Leader, and Mr. Eric Weingartner, music instructor.

Tomorrow I will write about some of the other dedicated and talented educators who led bands in this year’s parade. Learn more about all the wonderful performers, participants, and floats, featured in this year’s Rose Parade at this link: Rose Parade 2018 Lineup.