Above: Music teacher Leslie Lee surrounded by former students taking part in the Class of 2023 Grad Walk, where students walk the halls of their former schools. Photo courtesy of Leslie Lee
For music teacher Leslie Lee, the walk is the final movement of the Class of 2023’s EG education
By Leslie Lee
As a music teacher, my job is to teach kids how to sing, play an instrument, and work together to create a song. It takes a lot of time, patience, and nurturing from both parties. In the orchestra, for example,many different moving parts make up a piece of music. We all make mistakes, but if we continue to work on our rhythms, intonation, and listening to each other, we will come together to create our own little masterpiece.
The Senior Grad Walk is the final movement of our kids’ education in East Greenwich, and it’s my favorite day of the school year.
I get to see the kids I taught back when they were 8 to 11 years olds return as young adults ready to go out into the world and compose their own anthems. Days are long but years are short and when I see the students return one last time, it seems like only yesterday I had them in my Orchestra, Chorus, or General Music class.
Teaching is a two-way street. Many of these young people have made such an impression on me and are the reason why I keep doing what I do. Their enthusiasm, creativity, and individual personalities have helped to mold me into the teacher I am.
In return, they motivate me to try to provide them with the best education I can possibly give them and hope they hold on to something. It doesn’t have to be just the music part of their education. Grades and academics are all something to strive for, but I hope they walk away with more than that. I hope my contribution helps install confidence, compassion, and integrity in their everyday lives so they can be the best that they can. I hope they have happy memories of a place where they belonged and take that with them throughout their life to help make this world a better place.
I’m only one small part of so many key players in the lives of these seniors. Seeing them complete their education here in East Greenwich and graduate is similar to learning a piece of music. We’ve all practiced our parts, listened to each other, made mistakes, and brushed up our rhythms and intonation orchestrating our way into the world. Knowing I had a role, no matter how big or small, is the most rewarding part of my job.
Congratulations to the East Greenwich High School Class of 2023. Use this time to sketch out the overture to who you are and what you want out of life. The musical score is empty so fill it in with important times, valuable notes, and sweet melodies.
Leslie Lee has taught music in East Greenwich schools with only a one-year hiatus since she student taught here in 1995.