For those Broward readers who might have missed it in their newspapers, check out this column I wrote for the Thursday Palm Beach County edition about singing twins Rashad and Tashad Gardenhire, and Judy McMahon, a music teacher at Banyan Creek Elementary in Delray Beach who has gone above and beyond in helping her former students.
It's a powerful reminder of just how important teachers can be, and how there's so much more to education than standardized tests and a narrow focus on reading, math and science.
The Gardenhire twins, whose duo is known as Double Trouble (they're thinking of changing the name), almost landed on the upcoming season of Simon Cowell's X Factor on Fox (they might be featured on the Sept. 11 episode), but locals can see them perform in concert on Sept. 19 at the Arts Garage in Delray Beach.
And for more on Judy McMahon, read this email I got from reader Pauline Zaros. Happy weekend.
Thank you so much for the wonderful story highlighting Judy McMahon and the fabulous twin boys she has “adopted.” It was a joy to see some good news about young boys, and some positive news about what’s happening in our schools. There are so many teachers who go above and beyond, and never get the recognition they deserve. You found a gem and I am pleased you reported on it!
My daughters attended Banyan Creek Elementary and were both a part of an after-school club Judy ran… Instrument Club. Judy worked to gain funding and access from outside sources so that she could bring the wonder of Orff instruments into her class. My daughters and countless other students improved their memory, math skills, ability to listen and follow directions, pattern identification, team work, sense of pride, and more through Judy’s lessons and her club. I have volunteered in her classroom and have watched children who are disabled or mentally challenged come alive and respond in such a fabulous way to Judy’s use of music. She never cared what a child’s academic level of behavior level was… when you are in her classroom, you are an equal and everyone gets a chance to sing and play an instrument.
Every year Judy put together a school showcase and allowed EVERY student to participate… whether they could sing well or not, whether they could read music or not, whether they could carry a tune or hold a note or not. If the child enjoyed singing, dancing, playing a drum, xylophone, marimba, tambourine, or just wanted to be up on the stage expressing his/herself through music, Judy made it possible for that to happen. Some parents were puzzled by the chaos of having so many children on stage, and also that Judy did not pull out and focus on the “stars” – but that is just one more thing that makes Judy special. As the boys said in your article, “She’s an angel.”
While I will miss cheering for the boys on X-Factor, I am hoping that they will continue to move forward in the right direction. Maybe your article and perhaps another in the future (?) can assist in getting the word out so that more people will support people like Judy, Tashad and Rashad.
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