Saturday, April 21, 2007

The View From The Cheap Seats

The View From The Cheap Seats
By Jerry Haferkamp

I would like to use this column today to say good-by to a friend. Although I’ve only known him for a little over 4 years, I have as much respect for him as I have had for anyone I’ve known in my 64 years. He is a teacher. He is noMichelle D. McBride to Be Recognizedt just a teacher of a school subject, but a teacher of manners, respect and citizenship.

His name is Terry Martinez. He is the present Director of Bands at St. Charles West. He won’t be for long. He has accepted the same position in the O’Fallon, Illinois High School.

A few years ago, I volunteered as the driver for the St. Charles West Band. On our first overnight trip, I knew what this man did for these band members. In my 35 years as an over the road driver, I had to stay in motels where high school basketball, baseball and other sport teams stayed. I was usually kept awake well into the morning hours with yelling and running in the halls and doors slamming. On this night, there was absolute quiet at 10 o’clock, and I knew why.

Terry would have been a good drill sergeant. He instilled discipline, but with the love of a parent. In the morning, neatly dressed students came down for breakfast. All behaved like ladies and gentlemen. I was proud to be wearing a St. Charles West shirt.

I don’t know how much, but I can’t help but think that Mr. Martinez’s decision to leave was partly due to four members of our school board unceremoniously expelling his children due to where they live. You see, Terry was promised that he could have his children attend St. Charles schools as a condition of his employment. He lived just outside the district. Now that his children were tossed out, he may have felt that there was no reason to pass on a better job opportunity. I know that he was upset knowing that this board couldn’t be trusted to honor their word.

The St. Charles schools will be worse off with the loss of this teacher. How many more good teachers will leave is anyone’s guess. He is more than a band director. I know all the band parents will feel this loss, but will be glad to see him at area competitions.

Godspeed Terry Martinez. The pleasure was all mine.

That’s the view from the cheap seats.