EVERYDAY HEROES: TMS choir teacher to move to high school

Apr. 17—Tahlequah Middle School's choir teacher will make the leap to Tahlequah High School after this year.

Amy Wright, who is also THS and TMS pom coach, said she originally thought she would go into music performance rather than teaching.

"I thought, 'Well, if I'm going to go perform and do all this stuff, I need to have something to fall back on so I have a career after that,' so I went into education kind of as an accident, but I absolutely love it," Wright said.

Her passion for teaching and working with kids came as no surprise, especially after she received a kind word from a student.

"When I interned — and you know how we all have those rough days — this little baby comes up to me and says, 'Mrs. Wright, you look beautiful today,'" Wright said. "I [thought], OK, this is where I want to be, because this baby doesn't even know how much that means to me on this day where I'm having a yucky day. I was like, 'I hear you, Lord.'"

Wright's educational journey started in 1999 in Muskogee, but three years later, she made the switch to Tahlequah Public Schools. She started teaching elementary before venturing to the upper grades. She has experienced a few full-circle moments, as she now teaches in the same room in which she interned, and has taught children of past students.

Due to the retirement of Holly Sisk, THS vocal music director, at the end of the school year,

Wright will be taking over the position of THS Vocal Music Director Holly Sisk, who is retiring.

"I think it's going to be exciting for me to get to create some new things, but still uphold traditions Mrs. Sisk has done at the high school," Wright said.

Wright has always loved music; in her childhood, she gave living room concerts and performances of "Annie" for her family. She grew up performing in band and choir, and this shows through in her teaching.

"The best part is when you see this lightbulb moment go off and you see them be so proud of what they have created," Wright said. "It's just a neat feeling to be sitting there and watching what they are accomplishing."

Even though Wright wants her students to do well, she also wants them to focus on kindness. She teaches this characteristic with philanthropic projects throughout the year, such as collecting blankets and caroling at local nursing homes. Wright said she hopes her future and past students know they can learn life skills from the arts and that they can work hard while also having fun.

"I tell my kids I couldn't care less how they sing, or dance or whatever they are doing," Wright said. "I really want them to focus on being kind people and being nice to people because there are so many mean people in this day and age. It takes no extra time to just be kind. Not only can we be good people and good singers, we can also be kind people."