We know it’s not even possible to list all the credentials and accomplishments of our teacher and percussion instructor Mr. Mike Huestis. He is an incredibly talented and gifted man.
He is the assistant director of bands at American Fork Junior High and American Fork High School, where he shares his love and passion for music with his students. He not only teaches us the music but also the history behind it. And he teaches us to accept and appreciate all cultures.
Mr. Huestis is a highly sought after arranger and clinician in high schools and colleges throughout Utah, California, Nevada, Colorado and Idaho. He writes the curriculum that is used in the schools. He often stays up into the wee hours of the night perfecting the music he has written. He writes music for many of the schools we compete against. But he not only writes their music, he spends a lot of his time helping them perfect their performance. He honestly wants everyone to succeed, and to be the very best they can be.
He has extremely high expectations for us and for himself. He writes music that will challenge us and make us stretch far beyond our present levels of success. He sees our potential and pushes us to be as good as he sees us being. Often we don’t see that potential but he does. He expects us to work hard and be disciplined. Even though he’s tough on us we all know what it feels like to do our very best and to succeed. We have great respect for him and we know he really loves each of us individually. He can be very strict and still get in and have fun with us. It’s awesome to watch him play the drums, you can tell he absolutely loves it. He played with the Blue Devils and University of North Texas Freelancers and is very, very good. His philosophy is he gets paid to teach kids to hit stuff.
Mr. Huestis helped us buy expensive steel drums probably with some of his own money so we could start a steel drum band which is something he really enjoys and believes is an important style of music. He reminds us that we may not end up being professional percussionists one day, but we will all be professional at something so we need to always act professional. The life skills we are learning now will bless our lives no matter what we become. He has taught us that integrity is doing the right thing when no ones around to see.
He teaches by example. His family is what is most important to him. We see how he is a great husband and a fantastic father to Ella and Owen. We know how important his time is with them, we are lucky that he devotes so much time to us.
Our marching band has won first place in competitions throughout the state. We represented Utah in the Macys Parade in New York this last year. (He has also taught us to be humble so we better not list our winning record). We are working hard to go to Grand Nationals in November
Mr. Huestis’ commitment to excellence makes it possible for us to compete in Nationals. Its hard work but we’ve learned to “eat our dang cranberries.” (A personal saying of his)
We know Mr. Huestis could teach anywhere he wanted to. We are very fortunate to have him at our school, and to be taught by him. He is far more than just a teacher to us.
We often spend more time with him than we do our families. We appreciate all the time and talent he puts into helping us be the very best possible. We can’t even comprehend where we would be with out him
Thanks for everything!
American Fork High School Drum line and Pit
PS Mr. Huestis is so deserving of this award and so much more. We hope you will award it to him!!! Thanks