you done good, mcgee.

this entire morning and afternoon, i’ve had an unsettling feeling in my chest, and an increased heart rate… but i couldn’t pinpoint why. and then at 3pm, i found the reason.

my mom called me minutes after she received news that a favourite middle/high school teacher of mine had passed away suddenly. and i just sat there, choking back on tears, not knowing how to react. and then i thought the best way to honour his memory is to share with everyone how this incredible, inspiring person changed my life.

this man meant a lot to me, and to the rest of the school community as well. he was encouraging, supportive, humorous, passionate about his career, pushed us to be the best we could be, and most importantly, he genuinely cared about his students and their success. i remember the very first day of grade 7 music, we were all intimidated by this man with a scruffy grey beard and crazy hair of the same colour. he liked to call himself “mean”, though he was everything but that.

i guess you can say my future – my present – started at that moment.

aside from being my teacher, he was my mentor. not only did he teach me how to play a brand new instrument, he also helped me realize my potential as a musician – look where that has taken me. my favourite memory of him that will always stick with me was that time after i finished writing a music test early, and was just sitting there, staring blankly at the wall. he came by my desk, opened up a book – i believe it was uncle john’s bathroom reader plunges into music – to a section about pursuing music in post-secondary education, and quietly told me to read it. he was the first person to suggest this, before even i or my parents started thinking about what i would do for university. it really struck me, because at that moment, he showed me how much faith he had in me, and that he would support me along the way. he most definitely did.

the last time i saw him was this past february when we both attended my high school’s annual school play. i told him that i would be applying for the music therapy stream, and about my troubles in learning a new piano piece. as always, he gave me some encouraging and wise advice, told me he was proud of what i was doing, and not to get discouraged.

i will forever be grateful for the love and support he showed me and other fellow students, and for being there with me at the start on my journey to becoming a real musician.

my final words for him: you done good, mcgee.

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