2016-12-22 / Community News

Music teacher earns recognition

In 2015, Music & Arts launched the Music Educator of the Year Award an honor that recognizes a special music educator for his or her outstanding achievement in music education. From kindergarten teachers to college professors and everyone in between, anyone who has been teaching music full-time in the United States for at least five years can be nominated. The organization received more than 2,700 nominations from students and parents across the country. After deliberation by an independent committee, the 2016 winner is Amy Delorge, band director at Biddeford Middle School.

Delorge has served Biddeford in her role for more than two decades, and in that time has left an impression on both students and colleagues. In her position as director of bands, she conducts and directs not one band, but three: two concert bands and the school’s marching band. She prepares students for school functions, including parades and seasonal concerts, conducts oneon one tutoring sessions with new or struggling band members, and prides herself on providing opportunities for all students, regardless of their family’s financial status.

According to Amy’s colleagues, her passion for music education and her devotion to her students is unmatched by any other music educator. In a day and age when students feel so much pressure to be perfect, Delorge welcomes every child into the band program. By connecting with them on a personal level and showing them compassion, she nurtures them for success not only at Biddeford Middle School, but in the world around them. In her own words, “Teaching allows me to build a better place for community. Music education gives me a vehicle for modeling social justice, benevolence, creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking.”

To Amy, music is more than just a career: it’s a way of life.

According to Vicki Lee, a colleague at Biddeford Middle School, Delorge is the type of teacher that every student deserves. She cares for her students unconditionally, has a well-structured program and has grown the music program to more than five times the size during her time as bands director.

“As teachers, we cannot always impact our students in our given subject area in the way we would like, but often a teacher comes along and connects with students in a way that is life-changing,” Lee said. “Amy is that type of teacher.”

Tammy L. Carusone, choral director at Biddeford Middle School, agrees, adding that Delorge goes out of her way to help students in need.

“Not only does Amy provide materials for her students, but she goes out of her way to reach out to the community and get monetary donations to help students pay for music campus during the summer.”

Kyle Keenan, principal of Biddeford Middle School, points to her personality as a driving factor of the nomination.

“As a teacher, Amy’s strengths lie in her ability to connect with her students,” Keenan said. “It is clear that her students feel a strong connection to her and they trust that she has their best interest at heart.”

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