Steamboat Springs When Matthew Watwood played acoustic versions of famous rock songs with Kelli Turnipseed at Shorty’s restaurant in Oak Creek last month, he realized just how much his former music teacher had taught him.
“She helped me see so much more than the music,” Watwood said, comparing the gig to an exciting new business opportunity. “She showed me to love a job and love what you do.”
Watwood, a 2010 Boettcher Scholar and recent graduate of Soroco High School, nominated Turnipseed to be recognized this month in the Boettcher Foundation’s teacher recognition awards program. The program honors 40 Colorado teachers each year, selected by Boettcher scholars.
“I had about four teachers I could easily see myself selecting,” Watwood said Friday. “I decided it was Miss T because she taught me the most in school and out of school.”
Turnipseed taught Watwood for six years. She said her growth as a teacher paralleled Watwood’s growth as a student. That was evident at the Boettcher awards banquet on Aug. 1.
“During his speech recognizing me at the banquet, he said the music program had grown because of me,” Turnipseed said. “But I wanted to stand up and stop him and remind him that he was just as responsible for its growth because he recruited so many students.”
Watwood said Turnipseed focused as much on the art of musical performance as on the basics of instruments. He said a recent choir performance that illuminated children’s faces as they sang was proof that Soroco High School’s music program has come a long way.
“She really has expanded the program,” Watwood said. “There are more freshman students joining band than I have ever seen.”
Turnipseed will receive a $1,000 grant from the Boettcher Foundation as part of the award. On Friday, she still was deciding how to spend it.
“There are so many things that our department could use, I’m having a hard time deciding what to get,” she said. “I’m going back and forth between wireless mics and new music.”