LITTLETON - Merry, joy and love: Those are words associated with the Christmas season. They are also words to describe the December winner of the 9Teacher Who Care award.
They're also words that have come up in her classes a lot lately because as a music teacher at Powell Middle School, Summers has worked over and over with 250 students to prepare for the school's concert which was Thursday night.
Summers works with the students to master two- and four-part harmony. They learn music theory, timing and all that is needed to perform in front of an audience. Aside from the vocal component, the students add choreography. Summers also watches over as students write their own music and lyrics.
"Sometimes I forget they are only 13, but they can do it," Summers said. "That's what is so exciting! That's what thrills me and surprises them too."
Summers has taught for 37 years. All but five of those years, Summers has worked at Powell Middle School.
"I started when Powell opened 32 years ago. We had one choir and one band, very skeletal," Summers said. "It's just been such fun. This was my baby before I had my own two children."
The children who sing with Summers feel like they're part of a family. They call her "Momma Summers."
"She's just like a mom," said eighth grader Remi Trauernicht. "She'll hug you. She'll laugh with you. She'll make jokes with you."
Another eighth grader, Grace Forshag said this about Summers: "She's always so happy and you can look at her and feel good."
If someone loves to sing, Summers takes them under her wing.
"I cannot sing to save my life but she makes me feel like I can," Trauernicht said. "She's so supportive.
"Kathie also invites students with special needs and behavior problems into her choirs, working with them individually," Linda K. Arnold said.
Arnold is a retired assistant principal at Powell.
"She helps them find their voice, encouraging them to contribute to the whole," Arnold said.
Summers realizes the power music has on her students.
"Sometimes when the kids are not successful in the academic areas, they do well in here. If they can express themselves and feel successful, it makes their day."
Many more children in the future will benefit from Summers' influence. There is no slowing her down. There are way too many songs to sing.
"People ask me when I'm going to retire because I've taught for so long. I'm just not ready yet. They bring me so much joy. They feed me. They feel my soul."
If you know a teacher who is having a positive impact, please nominate them for the 9Teachers Who Care award: http://on9news.tv/1kFZhvo.
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