The Louisiana Music Educators Association recently recognized four Calcasieu Parish School Board educators at its annual conference in Baton Rouge. Kyle Cook, Maplewood and W.W. Lewis Middle School, Mathew McMillen, Sulphur High School, Jordan Moore, Vinton Middle School and Owen Clanton, former F.K. White Middle School principal and current district administrator of middle schools, were among those honored.

Cook, McMillen and Moore were recognized with the Outstanding Young Music Educator award for their dedication and enthusiasm for the profession.

Cook serves as the assistant band director at both middle schools and is also the founder and director of Sulphur's All-City Jazz Band. He said the award represents the hard work of his students and the city of Sulphur.

"My mission is for people to see that a community with band as its foundation can be cultivated to help students grow academically, musically and grow into respectful young adults," he said.

McMillen serves as the assistant director at Sulphur High and is also the drum line instructor for the Pride of McNeese Cowboy Marching Band. He said the tremendous growth that students experience through the hard work of music education is a major motivating factor for his career.

"Every sunburn, long weekend, late night and extra repetition that leads to a performance is made worthwhile when I get to see the pride and accomplishment in each student's eyes."

Moore said his experience as middle and high school band student inspired him to enter the teaching profession. "Growing up, everyone has to answer the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?' My response to that was, ‘I want to be someone who inspires.' Music education allows me to achieve that very goal through teaching."

Clanton was honored for his leadership at F.K. White where he was an advocate for music education. "To be recognized for this award is humbling, to say the least," he said. "I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to serve the students, staff and community of F.K. White Middle. I am very proud to say that I served Mrs. Betsy Stoupy, F.K. White's band director, and her award-winning program."

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