Cultural Quarterly
Fall 2008
Volume XXI, Number 4
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2008 Arts Teacher of the Year
Nicole Greggs

Leads Children on a Musical Journey
By Susan F. Davis

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Nicole Greggs and her son Hunter
Nicole Greggs and her son Hunter

“I didn’t choose music.  Music chose me!”  These words of Nicole Greggs do the perfect job of tracing her journey from music-loving child to music student to music teacher – and not just any music teacher, mind you, but Broward County’s Arts Teacher of the Year for 2008!

For the past 17 years, Greggs has been the music teacher at Plantation Park Elementary School.  Believing that music provides the perfect foundation for any child’s future, she says, “I do what I do because I care about my students’ learning.  Today’s students are tomorrow’s decision makers!”  

And Greggs more than “does” for her students.  She sponsors the Plantation Park Singers, a non-audition chorus made up of children from grades 3-5.  This group has a full schedule of specialized events which allows them to travel to other venues and perform.  “These performances give kids a sense of self-worth and positive self-esteem that is amazing,” Greggs explains.  Practicing after school, the chorus energetically prepares for full-scale productions like last fall’s The Wizard of Oz.  As the school year progresses, these chorus students also perform a holiday show, sing at the Music USA Festival and present a season finale which includes a Festival of Music combined with a show honoring “One Hundred Years of Broadway.”

As if that weren’t enough, Nicole Greggs is the founder, director and administrator of an innovative, creative and extremely energetic summer camp called “MusicMakers!”  This novel program was developed for students from ages 6-14.  Additionally, Greggs is the curriculum and program designer and head instructor.  “We try to give them everything,” she explains, “general music, singing, percussion, keyboard, strings and even woodwinds.  If they play in their school’s band, we encourage them to bring their band instruments with them.  We just try to tailor to these kids’ needs!”  The instructors are other music teachers and musicians.  “My fellow instructors are amazing.  We write and transpose music every day, and staying on top of that keeps everyone fresh and energized!”

Greggs takes a “whole child” approach to the teaching of music that is extremely visual.  For

Nicole Greggs receives Proclamation
Nicole Greggs receives Proclamation from
Cultural Division Director Mary Becht

example, once the students enter her room, they are quickly immersed in a world of music, music vocabulary and motivational phrases like “Put your heart in your art!”  A hand-painted mural circling the room cleverly disguises important words, music families and much more.  “This way,” Greggs goes on, “even if they are daydreaming, they are still surrounded by music.  They don’t even realize that they are still learning!”

When the Broward County Cultural Division created the Arts Teacher of the Year Award in 1985, the process was simple – teachers apply, the winner is announced in the spring and then towards the end of October a special presentation ceremony is held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.  However, this year, the ceremony was held in late September because Nicole Greggs is expecting her third child right around the end of October or the beginning of November.  So, the date had to be moved to accommodate this special arrival. 

Greggs is excited about her third child.  “But, I’ll be ready to go back to work by February or March,” she acknowledges.  This will certainly surprise no one she knows or who knows her.

When Nicole Greggs was chosen the Arts Teacher of the Year in April 2008, she was astonished!  “I feel like it’s just my greatest accomplishment, and I’m so proud and thankful!” she says.  Her supportive family, husband and two children, are equally proud of her and all she does.  “I’d be lost without them,” she admits.

It is clearly obvious that teaching music in the elementary world is the perfect place for her by allowing her to utilize her love of music and use it to reach out to children who can only be enriched by it.  So, it’s not just for all she does; it’s not just for her dedication; it’s not just for all of the lives she touches every day.  This award is for sharing – sharing her gift of music and sharing of herself!  For all of that and more, we salute you, Nicole Greggs!  Bravo!

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