Heather Copley Interview- Music teacher of the year
Heather Copley has been Apex High School’s Chorus teacher for twenty years and recently won the NC Music Educators Association High School Chorus of the Year award. Here we asked her a couple of questions about her experiences.
1. What happened the day you won the award?
It was Honors Chorus Day, and the award is usually presented right before the performance. The Honors Chorus is a pretty big deal because two thousand kids from this state audition, and only twenty kids for each voice part get in. So, it’s the best high school concert in North Carolina ever. All my friends and family knew about the award, but I had no idea. So, they kept me very busy. They even had me pick up all the water bottles after the concert so that they could sneak my family in the auditorium without me seeing them. They also made up all these little stories of things that I was going to have to do, which I totally bought into. So, they were really good at keeping it a surprise. Then right before the concert started, they announced it.
2. How did you feel about winning the award?
I felt humbled. Very humbled because all my colleagues were there, and they are just as deserving.
3. Why did you choose this profession?
Music teachers that I had before inspired me. I knew in the sixth grade I was going to be a music teacher, but I didn’t know what kind and how I would become one. Then when I was in the ninth grade, I knew I wanted to be a high school teacher. I started off with piano and then moved on the chorus.
4. What is your proudest moment as teacher?
I would have to say our experience that we had at Pearl Harbor, singing for the Arizona survivors. Also to see the connection with the kids and the veterans that day and how they handled themselves and what they learned and how we were able to give back.
5. What is your favorite memory as a teacher?
The Pearl Harbor experience that we had.
6. Who is your role model?
Probably my cooperating teacher, Diane Covington. She retired from Leesville a few years ago, which is where I did my student teaching with her. She was there to mentor me. Even to this day I still call her to ask her things.
7. What inspires you and how do you inspire others?
What inspires me is a challenge. If someone says I can’t do something, I work a little harder to prove that I can, and I love to challenge a child and to take them out of their comfort zone and them to do something that they never thought that they would be able to do.
8. What are words you live by?
Two things in my life right now. One would be suffering builds character, which is one of our chorus phrases and when you think about it, it’s very true. The suffering that you go through in your life, whether they are positive or negative suffering. They build you and add to who you are. The other one is, well I have a strong faith, so we get into parts of our life where we are not really sure where God is going to take us next and what plans he has for us. So, I really like Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
9. What is the best advice you have ever gotten?
Learn how to keep my mouth closed when it doesn’t need to be opened.
Congratulation to Mrs.Heather Copley, a beloved teacher well-deserving of this honor.