Los Alamitos High School Choir Director David Moellenkamp has been awarded the 2016 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award. He joins 13 other teachers from across the country who were selected from a pool of nominees received through the Kennedy Center’s website.
“Mr. Moellenkamp is a brilliant teacher who takes advantage of every second to improve the lives of his students,” said Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Sherry Kropp. “His love of music and teaching inspires hundreds of young people, every year, to join his program and become an integral member of the choir family. He is simply extraordinary!”
Moellenkamp was nominated by former student Ryan Rusin, who’s submission essay said in part, “He forever is an imprint on my life, making me realize the possibility to make that imprint onto someone else, which is truly far greater than any other lesson I’ve ever learned in my educational career.”
As part of his recognition, Moellenkamp will receive a $10,000 grant and will be showcased on a website dedicated to inspirational teachers.
“In high school, when I didn’t make the basketball team, I thought my life was over,” said Moellenkamp in accepting the award. “The choir teacher saw me sitting alone at lunch and said that he had a part in the musical for me to play.”
“This opportunity transformed me from a shy kid to a confident person. I knew that I had no other option than becoming a teacher myself, so I could provide similar opportunities for kids,” he added.
The Kennedy Center/Sondheim awards were created by the Kennedy Center to honor Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday in 2010. Sondheim is the winner of the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre and he has received more Tonys than any other composer. To date, 61 awards and $610,000 in grants have been awarded.
The award is open to any teacher who has taught in a K-12 school, college or university in the United States. Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas are eligible. A panel of judges reviews a pool of nominations and selects the recipients based on the power and quality of the nomination from their former students.
Moellenkamp oversees eight choirs and more than 400 students as Los Al’s choir director. He will continue helping his students reach their potential when he leads a group of 120 performers from the school’s mixed advanced choir, SoundFX, and the advanced women’s choir, Soundtrax, to both compete for their third straight national titles at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville on March 30 through April 3.
This article was a courtesy release.