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Sarah Jane Thompson - Woods Cross High School

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Over the years we have had the pleasure of listening to descriptions of many of the winners of your "Teacher Feature" segment. It is reassuring to know that there are so many wonderful educators who despite economic hardships and other obstacles have as their life's mission a desire to help students learn and become productive healthy adults. It is great to hear how these teachers can have an effect on students throughout the school year and sometimes much longer. We are making this nomination because of an unusual situation for which we feel recognition is long overdue. While teachers typically have students for a single school year and influence them during that 8 or 9 months, the teacher we are now nominating has influenced our sons and many others for several years. We would like to nominate Sara Jane Thompson the orchestra teacher at Woods Cross High School for this recognition. Not only is Ms. Thompson the orchestra teacher at Woods Cross High School, but she is also the orchestra teacher at South Davis Junior High, and at several of the surrounding elementary schools. Such dedication to teach so many children at so many different levels not to mention at so many different locations requires a self sacrifice and love for students that in our experience few teachers possess. She reaches out to young children to instill in them a love and appreciation for music that will affect their entire life. If they are willing, she then personally guides them along this path until they graduate from high school. Our son was impressed with her presentation in elementary school when he was in the sixth grade and as a result decided to play the biggest orchestra instrument he could find...the upright bass. At the time it towered over him. He is now beginning his senior year at Woods Cross High School and has had the pleasure of having Ms. Thompson as a teacher for 7 consecutive years! Two years after he took up the bass our younger son joined the orchestra as a result of Ms. Thompson's influence and the obvious effect it had on his brother. While our sons have gone through the typical ups and downs of enthusiasm and diligence in their orchestra experience Ms. Thompson on the other hand has been the model of grace, patience, and dignity when dealing with them. In most cases parents get to know a teacher during the 8 or 9 months of the school year as they attend conferences and have other interactions. We on the other hand have had the pleasure of knowing and becoming ardent fans and supporters of Ms. Thompson for 7 years. Year after year we have seen her interact with the students as she teaches them not only music but the values of discipline, persistence, honesty, leadership, and countless other attributes that will give them a leg up on whatever life path they choose. Over the years we have attended dozens of orchestra concerts, which in the beginning were entertaining because of their comedic value but now have become soul stirring renditions of beautiful music. The orchestra concerts at Woods Cross High School are highly anticipated community events that rival in quality many professional productions. Ms. Thompson requires and expects the best of her students. When her orchestras perform in competitions the decorum, respect, and maturity of her students stand out on many occasions in stark contrast to the other groups. Obviously this onstage behavior has not been learned during a single year but rather ingrained by being instructed year after year. The Woods Cross orchestra participates each year in a national competition in California. This is a highlight of the school year for many of the students as they have come to expect success in these competitions. It is not an overstatement to say that they routinely bring home multiple first place trophies which now line the shelves in the orchestra room. While these competitions usually bring success and honor it is the more important life lessons that Ms. Thompson teaches that set her apart. Please give her this recognition that she so deserves. When all is said and done, the long association our 2 sons and countless others have had with Ms. Sara Jane Thompson will make them much better people.

Thank you for considering our nomination,

--Kerry and Jean Fisher

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