Band directors do more than teach music – KWHS music teacher teaches life lessons and constantly fundraises

Band directors do more than teach music – KWHS music teacher teaches life lessons and constantly fundraises

“Today I gave the metaphor a calendar is like a hammer. You can give somebody a hammer and they know what it does, but that doesn’t mean they know how to use it. I was stressing the importance of planning and time management,” said band director Gary Hernandez.

He is a fifth generation conch and played trombone on the same ground KWHS is on today, where the parking lot is. He remembers hanging out by North Roosevelt Boulevard.

“It used to be all Australian Pines where Winn-Dixie is and my friends and I used to find railroad ties under rocks and pine needles,” said Hernandez. “I still have some.”

His passion for teaching music is centered at the creativity of each of his students.

“The part I most enjoy is giving kids the opportunity to express themselves through music. It is a special connection they can keep with them their whole lives,” he said.

Working on the computer is the largest part in teaching high school band for Hernandez

Working on the computer is the largest part in teaching high school band for Hernandez

Although he is a music teacher, Hernandez noted teaching music only takes up a third of his time working and the majority is spent planning trips with the band and fundraising.

“We just bought a sousaphone for  $5,800. Staying in a hotel with the band for one-night costs $7,000. It is like running a small business with student volunteers to pay for our program,” said Hernandez.

He enjoys being the music teacher in a small town because he feels as a celebrity.

“I know congressmen, school board members, commissioners, and the mayor. In a big city I would just be another face in the crowd,” he said.

Aside from his music-teaching role, he is a Jack-of-all-trades being the webmaster at KWHS, recently he received his license to drive a school bus, he just got his captains license and also operates as a travel planner with the band. He also has a love of seascape that he feels is in his Conch lineage.

“I am from here and love the ocean. I spend weekends on the sea and enjoy the atmosphere with friends and family,” he said.

Little known fact:
Hernandez can play every instrument at KWHS and also can sing. He also has put together a few music arrangements

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