A recent award presented to two Highland Secondary School music teachers struck a high note with the instructors, who were recognized for their high standard of achievement and professionalism.
Nancy Cox and Dale Hallier recently received the Professional Music Educator – Secondary award from the BC Music Educator’s Association.
The nomination came from a former student of the pair – Regan Livingstone – who is now a music teacher at G.P. Vanier in the Valley.
“It’s humbling,” explained Cox, who said advocating for teaching music in high school is a challenge, but credited administration and staff at Highland and School District 71 for their support of the program.
Hallier said the award was “really significant to us, because you have to get nominated and chosen by your peers.”
Unlike other subjects, Hallier explained music is a discipline where students cannot show up in a room and have the lessons constrained to class time. Rather, it’s a subject that has to be worked outside of school hours and balanced around homework and part-time jobs.
“You can’t just show up and play in band [during the time allotted]; students see practice as a step to get good at it – there’s no instant gratification, and you have to be willing to work. It allows for real-life skills.”
Both teachers have been instructors for more than 30 years, and both have spent 26 years teaching at the school.