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Rosemary Mathews – Mountain View High School

At the end of 2004, I was a junior in high school and my best friends Josef Curtis and Kelli Johnson dragged me into the choir room because you were holding mid-year auditions for A Cappella Choir and they were determined to get me in there with them. I have the worst stage fright in the world and preparing for that audition made me sick to my stomach. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to get up in front of anybody and sing. But I did it. And you gave me a spot in the choir. And it was the biggest blessing I could ever have hoped for during high school. I don’t think you can possibly understand what you have done for so many students with this choir. What you have taught us is immeasurable and will infinitely affect and bless hundreds and thousands of lives. You taught us how to work hard, to set goals, to accomplish them well with perfection in mind, and then to be proud of ourselves when we succeeded.

So many of us have gone on to different careers and hobbies that may not have anything to do with singing or music, but we have the best memories of being together in your choir with you as our teacher. You might only remember us being whiny and out-of-control and ungrateful (and we were), and maybe it seemed like you worked endless hours for little to no thanks in return. But I want you to know that we will never be the same because you were our teacher.

You created a world where kids of so many different backgrounds, interests, and teams could come together and feel safe and loved by you and by each other. We forgot our differences and we made something beautiful together that we could never have done alone. My best friends became dearer to me and I met new friends who became my best friends. I will never look back on my time in the choir without the fondest feelings for what it did for me, my self-confidence, and my soul.

I am so thankful for you.

God bless you.

–Chessie Owens (Class of 2006)

A good memory of Mrs. Mathews: Well, my first year at Mountain View, I had the wonderful privilege of being in the 2009-2010 Men’s Chorus. Kyler Lopez was our choir president that year. The theme for that year’s fundraiser concert was “Seasons of Love”, so one of the songs we sang that year was “Earth Angel”. I managed to land myself one of the solos and was very excited when Mrs. Mathews said we could choose a girl to serenade! Lucky for me! I got a solo AND a chance to land bonus points with the ladies! Then, Kyler pulled us all aside one day and said, “We are going to sing to Mrs. Mathews, so we can let her know we are grateful for what she has done for us.”

1st reaction? I was shocked.

2nd reaction? I was shocked.

3rd reaction? I jumped on the bandwagon with everyone else and said, “Yeah! Let’s do it!”

So the day came. We pulled out Mrs. Mathews. I was nervous that it’d be a little awkward, seeing as I was a barely 16-year-old who was singing to a married teacher of mine. However, Mrs. Mathews was happy and excited to see we would do such a fun thing, and she just rolled with it. Silly and awesome as always, she laughed and played along like any good sport would do.

And that was the image of Mrs. Mathews I came to love and respect: a wonderful teacher who loved to sing, loved to laugh, and did both together.

–Sami Chun (Class of 2010)

Rosemary Mathews is a dedicated teacher but so much more than that an amazing educator who teaches and expects excellence from her students. Simple choir concerts were never enough… they always turned into full blown drama productions with her grand vision and inspiring ideas. More than once did I witness her staying long after school hours working one on one with students, meeting with her section leaders and choir presidents? I think there are many wonderful and excellent teachers in our school district but what especially impressed me about Mrs. Mathews was that she took her students, especially her leaders (choir president, section leaders, secretary, etc.) very serious. By treating them with great respect, she not only taught them to do the same for others but she truly helped them grow and reach a potential few of them realized, they had within themselves. Our son had the privilege of being one of those section leaders one year and has the highest respect for Mrs. Mathews. He grew, and stretched, a lot under her direction and he also learned that age difference does not matter when it comes to friendship. A true friend is there for you in the best of times and the worst of times and that certainly has been true for our son. He has experienced some of the greatest highs of his high school years with incredible musical and inspirational moments with Mrs. Mathews but also some of his most challenging, frustrating and even depressing moments. Mrs. M, as she lovingly gets referred to, was at his side then as well truly concerned about his well-being, his personal life and his feelings. I will forever have that image in my mind of her in an after-school setting with people in and out of her classroom but her having pulled aside two chairs and sitting face to face, full attention on my son, listening not only with her ears but her entire being, her facial expression literally reflecting the pain and frustration my son was expressing to her and making him feel like he was the most important person on the face of this planet. THAT is talent! THAT is dedication! THAT is LOVE for the art, the music, the education, the individual. What she means to our son is easily illustrated by the fact that he made it a special point to return to the high school during his second semester at college, find Mrs. M and shares with her his exciting news of his call to an LDS mission. You just don’t see that sort of thing that often! The incredible thing about Mrs. Mathews is that this type of mentoring, pursuit of excellence and friendship is not unique to our son but was going on with countless other students. We therefore would like to join with all other Mrs. Mathews fans and whole heartedly tell her: “THANK YOU!!!! May God bless you for all you are, do and inspire to be!”

— Andrea & Scott Chun (Parents)

Mrs. Mathews, you were quite the choir teacher, every time I walked into your classroom I had no idea what we would learn that day, but I knew it would be something totally unexpected. You were so good at helping huge classes of over a 100 students have fun while learning how to sing and read music. I was always intrigued at how you got the attention of so many crazy high school students and not only turned us into an amazing choir but also brought out so much talent in some of the kids. I know that at your age it couldn’t have been easy to help a bunch of 17 year old kids sing classical songs, but when you would spice up the atmosphere with your energetic personality everyone would be so excited to sing the songs and do them well. Mrs. Mathews, you were the best choir teacher and director. Whenever we had choir competitions, I noticed that everyone did their best to behave themselves because everyone wanted to do well for you and show that our choir was the best. I enjoyed choir so much that I did it all three years of high school and I don’t regret singing in those concerts and choir tours were so much fun. You were the one that made all of that possible and I am so grateful that I could have an awesome teacher like you. I also remember dancing with you on the Party cruise in Seattle—you were a great dance partner!

Good luck with all your future plans.

–Clint Madsen (Class of 2004)

Mrs. Mathews,

You are the definition of inspiration. You always went above and beyond in fulfilling your role at Mountain View. You dedicated your life and heart to your choir students to make sure we got the absolute best music experience. You taught me to dig deeper and to put my heart and soul into music. Your dedication is what motivated me to put forth my best effort and to always give 110%. I will always remember –Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty! Thanks for everything.

— Kayla Madsen (Class of 2006)

To a very Amazing, Classy Teacher & Music Director!
Rosemary, you are someone who never settled for less than 100 percent from your students and you were the catalyst behind all that they were able to achieve. The students were able to learn so much from you, music yes, but not just music but how to work hard, how to achieve goals and how to do their best at whatever they do. You taught respect and responsibility and showed such care. You taught discipline (it was amazing to see the control in those huge classes of students) and yet you showed the students that there was time for fun also. You knew how to let your hair down and have fun with the students. They will look back and remember all the hard work and practice but even more they will have such great memories of their class time and their performances, the emotions that they felt as they performed and the pride that they could feel of doing something that was so very well done!!! Thank you for making it such a fabulous musical experience for my children. I wish that you could have taught my two older children, Craig and Katie (though you did have Katie for one year, your first year)–those two were my more mellow children, not quite as social and talkative as Clint and Kayla 🙂 But fortunately for us at least my younger two were able to benefit from a wonderful choir director who brought about great musical opportunities for her students. It was a delight for me to be able to learn from you also. I always felt like the little wheels in your brain were always turning and turning and working away to come up with ways to make everything just a little bit better. You brought such a level of excellence and because of the hard work, the students could take pride in their musical efforts. Concerts were such a joy to attend. Fund-raiser concerts were absolutely amazing.

I will always remember standing there at the bottom of the Embassy Suites in San Diego when the choir in a huge circle began to sing and people started coming out of their rooms to look down and listen to the impromptu concert. It was so moving as they sang “When You Believe” and many that heard them that night were touched by what they saw and heard. I will also remember those feelings I had as all the choir students joined in wherever they were standing in the visitor center at Temple Square to sing “Worship the King” There you were directing all those choirs of kids at once and the kids were standing all around us everywhere. It was just incredible and heartwarming. Lots of teary-eyed people and kids that night. Those are wonderful memories and there were so many more memories like that. Those are the times that touch the heart! All the extra time and effort and many hours that you gave as choir director will long be remembered and you will be very difficult to replace. Thanks for your friendship. Thanks so much for all you have done for the Mountain View High “community”.

You will be missed

Best Wishes,

–Lynn and Diane Madsen (Parents)

“Memory lights the corners of my mind… of the way we were.” As one of Mrs. Matthew’s favorite movie songs, it seems fitting to start like that.

But truly, being taught by Mrs. Mathews, I have walked away with a greater technical understanding of how to sing, as well as many incredible memories and lessons which I will never forget.

I picture Mrs. Mathews walking in the gym early in the morning, laughing to herself. This same woman is the one I also see threatening to give body slams! I picture her doing a dance in the front of a class room, and saying “Cha-bu-ka!” I remember her “oh my trella’s” as we neared the time of performing for our fundraising concerts. I see pinecones, ironing boards, and of course, juicy sunkist oranges through a new pair of eyes after knowing Mrs. Mathews.

On a much more serious note, I can still feel her love for not only the music we were learning… but for each of us. I remember all the many times she would emotionally tell us a story from her past, or plead with us to “buck up betty.” She meant it, too. And of course, she would tell us these things so that we would improve as a choir… but more importantly, she told us these things to improve us as individuals. She would remind us that we are going to go through hard times. That’s just how life is. And if we thought we were tired, or frustrated, or worked to the bone in choir, then we didn’t know what was coming our way. But at the same time, she gave us encouragement and hope that we can get through those difficult times.

Mrs. Mathews was always training us to see and feel with our hearts. She knew that if we could take the music and see our lives through it, we could do the same with scriptures, with friendships, with trials. She taught us how to sing, and she taught us how to see.

“If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we? Could we?” I would in a heartbeat. I cherish those memories I made in choir. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn the little “gems of knowledge” that Mrs. Mathews was so willing to offer us. I am so grateful for the gift of music in my life, and for Mrs. Mathews sharing her profound love for it with each of us.
“Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing. Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing. Who can live without it? I ask in all honesty, what would life be without a song or a dance what are we? So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me.”

Thank you Mrs. Mathews. Thank you for bringing music into each of our lives. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to grow in my love for music, and my love for others by being a part of your classes. I thank the Lord for the many wonderful teachers He has given me in my life, and you should just know that you are way up there on that list. 🙂

Mrs. Mathews is an incredible woman– in talent, in love, in strength and courage, in passion and drive, and in spirit. I hope one day to have an impact on the lives of those I come in contact with as Rosemary Mathews did with each of us. She is truly an angel sent to MVHS to bless the students. She will be missed at that school, but never forgotten.

So Mrs. Mathews, “Thanks for the memories.” God be with you til we meet again.

–Meredith Bates (Class of 2010)

Mrs. Mathews,

I could never thank you enough for all that you have done for me. You made my experience at MVHS remarkable and I still brag about my choir days! I have learned so much from you and feel so blessed to have had you in my life.
I have so many great memories from choir and I think my favorite was when we performed at the ACDA convention in Arizona. We had been working toward that performance all year and sometimes it seemed as though we were never going to reach our goal. I remember spending days in class working on a single phrase over and over again. Singing Amor De Mi Alma brought me to tears along with so many other students. For me it was because I had worked so hard, I knew that we all had, and that it had paid off. You were the person who made us all believe that we could accomplish something so perfect and you never stopped pushing us. I still sit up late at night watching the video of that performance, making sure I can remember how it felt. I never want to forget!

Another great memory was when I was trying out for Chamber Choir. I was completely terrified because I had never really taken voice lessons and didn’t think of myself as being a good singer but I figured I would take a chance. When I got accepted I thought there had been some kind of mistake! I will never forget what you said on the very first day of class. You told us that none of us were in there for pity, or just because you wanted us to feel good. You said that each and every one of us was picked because you felt we were good enough to be there and we could contribute to the choir. My confidence sky rocketed that year! I loved that you gave us that reassurance and I will never forget the amazing things we accomplished. Thanks for taking a chance on me that year; I really don’t think I would be where I am today if you hadn’t.

Thank you for all that you’ve done! I really appreciate all of your hard work. Nothing I can write will be able to do you justice. You are truly amazing and I hope you never forget that.

— Emily Payne (Class of 2010)

I have an interesting story about Rosemary.

I worked as an assistant principal at Oak Canyon Junior High in Lindon for three years. Those are the three years that Rosemary Mathews was the choir teacher at Oak Canyon. She was AMAZING. In my 20 years in junior highs I have NEVER seen a teacher do what she did. She especially made the junior high boys sound great — that is not an easy task.

After my Oak Canyon years I was appointed assistant principal at Mountain View. Soon after being appointed, the choir teacher at Mountain View decided to move out of state when the summer came. So, Mr. Rick Clark and his assistants (including me) needed to find a new choir teacher.

I knew who I wanted to hire: ROSEMARY. My problem was that she was teaching at Oak Canyon and I did not feel comfortable trying to recruit her away from my previous school. Fortunately, Rosemary found out about Mountain View’s choir opening and applied for the job. ( Oak Canyon’s principal’s wife told her about it. The principal was mad at his wife for months after that.) As soon as I saw her name on the list of applicants I told Mr. Clark our search was over. We interviewed several, but, of course, she was the top candidate. That was the easiest hiring decision I have ever had.

I worked with Rosemary as an assistant principal for a total of 5 years and now have sent 5 of my children through her program. I have always loved Mrs. Mathews.

Long Live Rosemary,

–David H. Smith (Administrator)

Rosemary,

I want to express my gratitude for all of the things you have done for me and the influence you have been in my life.

I still remember coming into the classroom in the summer of 2002 as an unsure kid wanting to help. I organized everything I could to make that first year as smooth as possible. I didn’t always do my best and I’m sure I wasn’t the most exemplary choir student but I think we made quite a team. There were many sweet moments that I can remember. The trips we took, the competitions we sang in, and rehearsals that sometimes stretched through hours of long painful days, but at the end, we would sing from our hearts as inspired by you and some of the most touching moments that I look back on in high school were those standing on that stage, ready to receive the inspiration you provided us. Even thinking about the invitation you extended to so many here in Utah and in Washington DC, of peace. I know that many people left those concerts with a resolve to find peace through adversity.

As I graduated, went away for college and prepared for a mission, our friendship didn’t end. I remember sending post cards to you and a few others at the school keeping you up to date. More though, I remember the opportunity I was given when I returned home to help you with. I don’t think I have ever honestly expressed my appreciation for what you gave me. There were hard days, long days, often high expectations, and many tense moments. Through all of that, I learned how to be technical and personable and to love the art and the people. One of the best things I learned was how to know your every though. I made it my goal to be your technical mind. To know exactly what you wanted and where you wanted it. I hope I never failed you. You gave me a voice often and I appreciate that so much. And while sometimes it didn’t seem like it, I was so happy to be helping and serving and leading and coordinating. I made it a point to make sure you made it to your car after every concert I could because when all was said and done, my focus wasn’t really the lights, or the sound, or the students, or even the music, but it was to make sure that you had what you needed and wanted. I don’t say any of that to show how great I think I was or how hard I tried. I want you know that I say those things because of the deep appreciation, respect and love I have for you.

I wish you the best as you move forward from here. I know that Heavenly Father is watching out for you because I have seen his light in your eyes. I know that he will take care of you and Bill. I know that your mission isn’t over yet. I think of you often and I hope and pray that you are taken care of. Thank you for all you have done for me and the person I have become having known you.

— JT Tullis (Class of 2003)