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Sherryl Cazier – Syracuse High School

There are many outstanding teachers out there, but very few that truly change lives. Mrs. Cazier has dedicated the past twenty-nine years of her life to ensuring the success of all students in and around the classroom. She spends countless hours working with students one on one to make sure they not only perform music well, but to make sure they are doing what makes them happy and will take them on a path of success. She has an easygoing disposition no matter what is going on. She is always good natured and never shows visible frustration. There are days in class we take advantage of this with loud conversations, but she never yells. She will just patiently wait until we are ready to move on without seeming upset. Also, she truly cares about every student. She frequently checks to make sure everyone feels accepted and safe in her classroom. She looks for people that may not fit in and sends others to befriend them. It isn’t uncommon for her to just call someone into her office and talk to them about life. There have been many days I have sat and just told her my feelings. She asks personal questions she seems genuinely interested in. She asks me when my braces will come off, if I’m working on any new piano songs, if I’ve done anything out of the ordinary, and many other things. She takes time to know and love every student, and people who may feel like social outcasts flee to her room for acceptance and comfort. She even lets anyone come into the classroom whenever they need. People can be found doing homework there, eating lunch, or just talking with friends. The doors are always open to anyone. Mrs. Cazier not only goes over and beyond to make all students comfortable, but takes time to enhance their talents. Many days of the week she can be found at the school early in the morning working with individuals or full choirs on their pieces. She dedicates most of her time to finding ways to make performances successful. Mrs. Cazier doesn’t just teach notes and rhythms, she teaches how to put emotion into a song, how to convey a message to an audience, and how to sing without vocal strain. A dazzling row of golden plaques attest to the fact that she won’t give up on a song. She works hard to make every song perfect and professional. We have spent hours working on one section to perfect it, and the joy we feel when we get it right is worth the struggle. Perfect performances aren’t uncommon for her groups, because she makes everyone love the craft of music to the point where they never want to stop singing. She gives up so much personal time for each of us. She takes a week out of her summer to spend in the woods with thirty teenagers. She gives up most of her December to support groups in performances (Last year there were close to thirty in the month.). She takes the choirs through the school singing love songs to spread cheer. She takes the largest choir on a week long trip to be critiqued, and to just have a ball. She gives up money from her pocket to make sure students can have once in a life time musical experiences. Mrs. Cazier sacrifices everything for her students. It is extremely difficult to put into words how much Mrs. Cazier means to us. Every year three hundred students enter her classroom, and every year three hundred students leave with a piece of her love eternally engrained in their hearts. When she announced she would be retiring at the end of this, her twenty ninth year of teaching, not only did she cry, but a classroom full of high school students cried with her. I not only cried during that class, but most of the rest of the day and continuously for days to come. There is no replacing Mrs. Cazier. She means more to me than any other teacher/leader/mentor/friend. There will be a big hole once she leaves Syracuse High. Mrs. Cazier, we love you more than words can describe. You have changed thousands of lives with your teaching and through music. Thank you for being the teacher to make a difference.

–Logan Kelley

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