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Teachers Are Heroes: Matthew DeBeal

Posted: 10:18 AM, Feb 26, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-26 10:18:47-05
Teachers Are Heroes: Matthew DeBeal
Teachers Are Heroes: Matthew DeBeal
Teachers Are Heroes: Matthew DeBeal

Orchestra instructor Matthew DeBeal is fortunate to have found a job combining his two loves, music and teaching.

When DeBeal came to Mount View Middle School six years ago, his orchestra room was quite small.

"We played in a portable classroom with about 70 kids," he said.

Today, DeBeal rehearses in a much bigger space inside the school and with about 60 more kids.  It's a visual testament to his dedication to the orchestra program.

"I have to pinch myself that I kind of fell into this position, and I've been able to continue to build the program and make it stronger from where it already was."

DeBeal likes to challenge his students, so don't expect to hear the strings rendition of "Hot Cross Buns."  He chooses challenging pieces from music greats like Beethoven and Bach.

"I like to push them and test their limits and see what they can really handle," he said.

Turns out these kids can handle a lot.  When the deadly attacks happened in Paris in November of 2015, the students put together a musical tribute for the city, performing France's national anthem.

"They do so much beyond what is required of them it's just amazing to see what happens when they put their whole effort into something."

Tammy Goldeisen, Mount View's principal, agrees with DeBeal.  "If you go to a concert and you close your eyes, you have no idea you're listening to 11, 12 and 13 year old students," she said.

Not every student comes to DeBeal with a proficiency in string instruments, and that's okay with him.  It's not about how well they play, it's about them learning new skills and developing an appreciation for the arts.

"They find their little niche inside the orchestra and that's really cool.  It's always a great experience to see them grow as musicians."