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Carmel Elementary School announces Teacher of the Year | People

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Carmel Elementary School announces Teacher of the Year
People, Schools
Carmel Elementary School announces Teacher of the Year

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- Carmel Elementary School is excited to announce Mr. Nathan Whitehurst as the 2103 Teacher of the Year.  This honor was bestowed on Whitehurst, who has been a Music Specialist at Carmel since 2008, by his peers who vote annually on who embodies what teaching is all about.  Principal Dr. Keith Bryant stated, “Mr. Whitehurst exemplifies excellence in teaching.  This was noted by his peers selecting him as Carmel Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year, and I consider it a great honor to have announced his selection.  He is definitely a superior teacher who strives to do his best for the students at Carmel!”  Bryant presented Whitehurst with a didgeridoo, an Australian musical instrument, that Mr. Whitehurst immediately demonstrated for his music class. Whitehurst’s colleague Mr. Bill Barsh added, ““Mr. Whitehurst is an exceptional teacher who makes music come alive.  Whether it’s Mozart, Motown, or musical rhythms, students are given experiences that inspire creativity and empower musical composition.  He makes me inspired to pursue music more in my own life!”

When asked about how his love for music developed and what got him here, Whitehurst said:

I believe that music inspires the soul, however in my childhood I would have to wait until I was in the fourth grade to get that opportunity. I attended elementary school in the Griffin-Spalding County school system and was raised in home where both parents were accountants. My parents didn’t pursue any formal musical activities, but were always very supportive of my interest. I only have one memory of seeing a music teacher in elementary school. It occurred in fourth grade when a very nice lady came to our classroom and demonstrated an autoharp. After her demonstration she asked, ”OK, now who would like to play it?”  Full of excitement all of us raised our hands hoping that she would call on one of us. To my dismay, she called upon the two little girls at the front of the class who eagerly strummed the angelic instrument, after which the nice lady packed away her things never to be seen again. I would then have to wait until the 6th grade where I joined the band and began playing the trumpet under Mr. Denmon, a short and very animated man. He always had pep in his step and would be whistling a lively tune. 

I now had found my passion for music. I worked the entire summer before 9th grade cutting lawns to save enough money for an electric guitar and a small amp at a local pawn shop. With a little remaining money, I paid for guitar lessons for 2 months. From there I learned the rest from reading books and magazines. I started writing my own songs and within that first year I started getting together with friends to form different bands. After high school I attended Gordon College studying music for a short time and then  at 19 I left home and school to serve a 2 two year mission for my church. When I returned home, I began working and going to school. I moved to Kennesaw in 2002 to attend college at Kennesaw State University. Also, after moving to Kennesaw I soon met my wife whom I married in 2003. With new responsibilities I was balancing work, school, and a growing family. It was tough meeting all of my commitments but somehow I found a way. Excitedly in January of 2008 I began student teaching with Rick McKee at Acworth Intermediate School. I was very inspired by Mr. McKee and was encouraged by him to pursue further music training in Orff-Schulwerk approach. This approach focuses on students being active in playing instruments, dancing, and singing. Upon graduating in 2008 I had finally realized a long awaited dream when I was offered a job to teach at Carmel Elementary School. I was elated for the opportunity to teach in the community which my wife and her family had lived in since she was 10. I felt like it was a chance to give back to the community which had blessed her and her family so much. Carmel Elementary School has become a place where I can give children the musical opportunities that I did not have but I believe they deserve.

Mr. Whitehurst added, “My goal as a music specialist is to inspire students not only in the arts, but in all aspects of life.”

People, Schools