Representing North Carolina, Mrs. LaSaundra Booth has been selected as one of 50 Directors who are making a difference.
Zebulon Gifted & Talented Magnet Middle School
Zebulon, North Carolina
Total Years Teaching: 14 years
What is your proudest moment as an educator?
My proudest moment is when I founded the Wake Forest Community Youth Orchestra (WFCYO). In 2013, my position at Wake Forest Middle School was cut even though I had 70 students enrolled. With my program being cut, students were left without an opportunity to participate in string orchestra. Since there was no other string program in that part of the county, I decided to create a string program outside of the school system. WFCYO started with only 3 students enrolled. Currently, WFCYO provides free instruments and instruction to 130 Pre-K through 12th grade students across three counties.
How do you hope to make a difference in your students’ lives?
I hope to make a difference by touching the lives of students where they need it most. I want my students to reflect on my life story and know that there is hope. I grew up in poverty without a father. My mother worked at a gas station so that my sister and I had food. Playing the cello changed the trajectory of my life. I did not become a product of my environment, and do not want my students to. I want to be a source of inspiration that participating in music can be life changing for them as well.
What is the most important lesson that you try to teach your students?
The most important lesson that I try to teach my students is to know who they are as a person and as a musician. Many times, students come to me, and they have no idea what their name means. I use that as a starting point. I tell them that their names are important, and that they were given their name for a reason. Students must understand that because their name has special meaning, they should hold high expectations of themselves. There is no limit to what they can do. If they will only believe, they can achieve. Speak positive!