Member finalist for Grammy educator honor
By SHERRY HALBROOK
Teaching music to deaf children requires ingenuity, optimism, a love and understanding of music and, perhaps most of all, a love and understanding of children and their desire to explore their world.
PEF member Vicky Stockton has devoted four decades to this work at the state School for the Deaf in Rome. And her students clearly appreciate it. A former student nominated her for the national Music Educator Award for 2017 and she is one of the 10 finalists chosen from nominees from all 50 states for that recognition which is bestowed by the National Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum in January.
Stockton joined the School for the Deaf as a faculty member when its music program was just getting started. In addition to music, she teaches Latin and American Sign Language classes. She also serves on an advisory council to the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, and she has submitted her teaching curriculum to the United Nations.
Several years ago, Stockton brought her students to a PEF convention where they performed for the delegates. Stockton is a member of the PEF Executive Board, and council leader and a steward of PEF Division 206.
The Music Educator Award was established in 2013 to recognize current educators at the kindergarten level through college, in public and private schools, who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools. The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone may nominate a teacher.
In addition to her nomination for 2017, Stockton was nominated and was a quarterfinalist in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
As a finalist for the 2017 award, Stockton will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the School for the Deaf will receive a matching grant.
When asked what she’d do with prize money when she was announced as a semifinalist, Stockton said: “First thing, I’ll get our piano fixed.” The instrument is used daily by the students. She’d also like to make repairs to the hand bells, which were granted to the school when the music program started. Many of those same bells are still in use today.
Stockton said her repeated nominations for the music educator honor are especially gratifying because they come from her former students, and because, “Music is what I am.”