It’s a new school year, and that means our teacher of the month segment is back in session. September’s honoree is a show stopper, but this music and choir teacher puts her students in the spotlight – and they’re bursting with self confidence.
Diana Harrigan, Teacher of the Month: “This song is so important. When I see my children coming into the classroom, I know sometimes they are coming in with burdens, they’re coming in just to release the stress of the day. And I know that they have so much untapped potential, and it’s my job to pull that out of them.”
Diana Harrigan is our September Teacher of the Month. She teaches Music at Sauk Elementary School in Richton Park and conducts the school’s show choir.
Deontae Farrow, Sauk student: “She lets her light shine by teaching us song and dance movements.”
Fifth grader Deontae Farrow is the student who entered Mrs. Harrigan’s name for teacher of the month consideration. Born hearing impaired, he had multiple surgeries to correct the problem, but he still felt left out.
Diana Harrigan: “When he came in last year he was such a shy, timid fourth grader, and he was very timid with his movement. But as he got into music class, and stayed after school for choir and we started singing and dancing, motivating the children every day, now those fears aren’t there anymore.”
Deontae Farrow: “So now I let people know that I can sing and dance and do all that.”
And much of the credit goes to Mrs. Harrigan, who takes basic music scale to another level.
Diana Harrigan: “We have our little hand signs, we might add a drum beat … so we’re making do-re-me-fah-so-la-ti do something for the new age child.”
Mrs. Harrigan and students who belong to the school choir she conducts have appeared at several venues in the Chicago area. She says that just as time spent in the classroom is important so are the public appearances.
Diana Harrigan: “Because it makes them feel good about themselves. It’s something positive and they start off from scratch and at the end when we perform and they see the audience standing up and cheering along, that makes them feel like they’ve accomplished something great. Their self-esteem is built up and their light is shining.”
And so is hers.