I was recently listening to a conversation between my wife and my daughter talking about their favorite books. As a first grade school teacher, my wife loves to read and certainly has an entire library of favorite books, but I was very intrigued to hear her tell my daughter that her all-time favorite book is “Thank You, Mr. Faulker” by Patricia Polacco. The two of them talked about how Mr. Faulker, Patricia’s teacher, instilled in her lessons and habits that have made her one of the best authors of children’s books of all time. At the time she met Mr. Faulker, she could not read well, and he gave her the love of reading which led on the path to where she is today.
I have been blessed to have incredible teachers, coaches, mentors, and family members. I could write volumes about how each of them shaped my life and made me who I am. As I reflected on all of the teachers in my life, there was one in particular that I always go back to, and every time I get the opportunity, I thank him.
I met Tom Nagy when I was in elementary school as he was our band instructor. I played the percussion all through my school years and ultimately he became my marching band instructor as well. I still remember all of the marching band competitions that we entered and the hours upon hours of practice. Mr. Nagy is one of the kindest and most generous people that I ever met, but he also would not accept anything but our very best. Although I didn’t love him during band camp every year, all of the lessons that he taught us about repetition and adversity and being kind to people have never left me. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am were it not for Mr. Nagy and his marching band at Central Cambria High School.
I will certainly never be a best-selling author nor as well-known as Patricia Polacco, but I want Mr. Nagy to know that he impacted my life and I will be forever grateful to him. I apologize to him for groaning and grunting when he asked for us to do a certain section again or when I was never able to play a triplet on a bass drum for one of our songs. Thank you, April, for bailing me out and thank you Mr. Nagy for understanding that it was something that I just wasn’t able to do.
Ultimately, all I have to say is, thank you Mr. Nagy.