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West Orange High School choral director tells story of winning Grammy


[Applause] this t-shirt is a true getting results inspiration and his story has been one of our favorites in recent weeks dr. Jeffrey reading is the choral director at West Orange high school and now a Grammy winner yes and as you can see he got a warm homecoming one week ago following his trip out west to attend the Grammy Awards and Karolina Cardona got the opportunity to interview dr. reading recently but now it’s our turn to get up close and personal doctor reading is here now we’re so happy to have you and we know it’s been a whirlwind experience talk to us about that night life-changing incredible different are you still floating no can I go back to normal can I get to rehearsal yeah when you came back and we saw you on the red carpet as your student yes welcoming you back what was that like to come back to that reception shocked humbling thankful emotional really yeah and what is I mean what was it all about I mean just getting there doing all of this like going and being on television I mean it’s you start from day one going to classrooms and you end up at the Grammy Awards I mean what is that feeling like from the classroom to TV doing all that um again life changing it’s more so of first of all on a personal level it’s wow I cannot believe this kid Lawrence in elementary school Robert Lee in Jones high school and so on and so forth is that this juncture in his life but on a bigger scale on a larger scale is more attributed to thanks to for my family and friends to my students to how can i how can we serve better so it it’s a lot larger than I and so it was and when went out went out when I was in that moment it was like okay how can I serve better now how can I serve more now and you mentioned all the schools yes right here what do you want kids to know her going to those schools who maybe feel like no you know I’m not gonna do anything fabulous there you are went to those same schools and now you have a Grammy on your mantle what do you want those kids to know when you work and when you serve you never serve a work to get an award you serve to give the award may become as a a byproduct but it’s not the it it is something a whole lot larger so in other words small victories don’t let your situation dictate your future don’t become a victim learn to give learn to serve learn to be a better version of yourself to give it away if you get an award that your award may not be a Grammy your war could be just a thank you and that’s just as powerful as a Grammy and you’re able to impart so much wisdom into your students beyond the music talk to us about you know what it’s like teaching in this case these girls just sing but it’s so much more than that it is it’s so much more music is I tell my students to focus on the process of life not the product in other words when you come into a classroom it is our job as educators to create a motivating and inspiring in a life changing environment so therefore there are rules there are discipline that you should follow once you get that then you get to teach the student so therefore anything that comes as a result of that it’s plus they’re gonna be high if they’re gonna be lows you gotta learn how to give in the midst of rejection you have to learn how just to give period because you realize there’s a lot larger than you so therefore when I see my students I I moved because they get it because I had people in my life and I still have them who tells me you can do it you can get it so I want to give it back it’s that little push that sometimes they they really need cuz you never know what they’re going through right you absolutely you never know so therefore and it’s not my business it’s my job just to create the environment it’s their job to taking it run with it and it does I’m sorry no no go ahead it doesn’t matter if it’s if it’s if it’s a you know child or an adult from a community choir but that’s the thing about OCPs in the fine arts and OCPs and that’s why we’re so supported in that situation and to give and to create a platform of unity of passion and purpose or to touch and change lives and and but it starts here and we know that kids who are involved in music and Fine Arts they excel in academics overall yes why is it so important that we continue to support fine arts you know it’s getting cut in a lot of schools but we really need it there’s a direct correlation and it’s a research-based in terms of the arts and education you have to learn to teach the whole in academia is easier to teach this this this and this but then once they have choir once they have been once they have drum and all the fine arts you’re then teaching the whole why there’s math in music there’s Science in music there’s English in music but then the extra step is you teach a student how to create and you teach a child how to how to UM communicate what someone who is not like them to accept someone who is not like them should go past what if you’re introvert learning how to deal with someone who’s not and it’s so there’s so many life skills that you get in the arts and so therefore you don’t want to teach you you want a student to have a full rounded education you can’t teach you can’t treat the arts like an elective we must treat it on the equal footing and that’s what they get the whole thing so what’s next I mean you’ve gotten this award what’s the next frontier like I said I don’t teach for world wars I got a rehearsal to get to I am I am literally in love with teaching what this platform does it gives me a truncated timeframe again to talk about passion to talk about inclusion to talk about music education to talk about the arts so as long as this lasts I’m going to talk about that and then you know pay it forward you know and tell those kids hey keep going keep going don’t worry about it keep going just be motivated you know so that’s what I choose to do with it alright and how did all of this come about how did the nomination happen how did you find out about the nomination it’s weird I mean I just I don’t know it’s kind of weird it was it was one of those things in which you had to turn a lot of paperwork and so on and so forth a lot of loop I mean circles you got to jump through hoops you have to jump through but then once I found out I was a quarter finalist semi-finalists and finding themselves like this is really gonna happen right now and then it happened I was like okay I’m your daughter dude that was her there in the blue um everyone you know this is ugly old guys you know that is I said no I do not dad sorry no no you’re a cool dad down well it’s a pleasure to have you here today doctor right yes ma’am thank you can you be your life coach – yes hey come on cause we’re all in this together I’m still okay I’m still learning about life so I would give away anything I have not arrived thank you thank you so much

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