Last year, Pamella Grohmann retired as the K-12 music teacher at Cerro Gordo after more than 30 years. The district hired Colleen Hillyer last summer to replace Grohmann. Hillyer states she enjoyed her time at Cerro Gordo and wished she could have stayed longer. Hillyer was hired as a long term substitute, and remained as a sub for as long as the State of Illinois would allow. Hillyer stated, “I truly loved my time in Cerro Gordo and with it had been longer.”
However, now the district has hired a brand new soon to be college graduate from Millikin University for the position. Grohmann returned for one final time this semester as the teacher the district hired is still completing her student teaching requirements. Dianna Leigh is currently student teaching at Springfield High School.
Monday, March 4th, middle school and high school students got the chance to work with her and Grohmann. Leigh also attended the last performance in Cerro Gordo Middle School Gymnasium, which is now closed for renovations. Soon, the gym will become an auditorium.
Leigh grew up in Naperville,IL with a graduating class of 500 and thirsted for a smaller community. Originally she intended to pursue a Medical degree, but stated, “In high school I wanted to go the science medical route. My Junior year I took Anatomy and realized I hated it, but I was always in choir and really liked orchestra growing up.” Adding, “I switched and took AP music theory my Senior year and I was like, yup this is great and pursued music.”
As for why she pursued Music Education, “I always loved it and had great choir directors that set the example of what choir should be like.”
She taught swim lessons in Schaumburg, which fostered her love for teaching. “I have always loved kids and I love teaching. I used to swim and taught swim lessons and I coached for a little bit. So that whole teaching thing has always been with me, so when I realized I didn’t want to do Science, I’ve always loved teaching and I have always done music so when I got to college it just made sense.”
Leigh has a few of her own ideas, including a possible musical surprise. However, she desires to keep with some of the traditional performances Grohmann instilled. “Keeping with traditional around here that the community will want to see again. Especially because I have heard there is such a community reach here which is awesome. Keeping with that community that they have they are going to want to see and look for that next year.”
She also has ideas for keeping students involved in music,“Especially grabbing the middle schoolers when they start thinking music isn’t cool anymore, I already have thoughts in my brain for what I want to do for a musical next year.” She added she would like to possibly include the younger grades in the high school musicals and teach them a bit of theory before heading off to college.
Leigh has a few fundraising ideas in her head as well, “I am hoping to find some funds or things to get some things into the elementary classroom to put even more color in there!”
As for her advice to anyone considering pursuing Music Education, “Oh my gosh, totally do it.
“Look into what school you want to go to and how early you can get into the classroom. I think at Millikin they do a really great job of at Sophomore year you are teaching already.”