‘They just start to shine:’ College Park chorus teacher shares love of arts with students

Julie Simmons teaches at College Park Middle School

News 6 continues to celebrate and recognize our local educators as students head back to school this fall.

COLLEGE PARK, Fla. – News 6 continues to celebrate and recognize our local educators as students head back to school this fall.

We’ve been chatting with area teachers and asking them to share why they teach. Julie Simmons is the choral director at College Park Middle School.

“Music has always been a part of my life and it has just enriched my life and given me so many opportunities in my life. And it’s helped me live my best life. I want students to experience living their best life. And even if that’s not being a professional musician, but just because they love music and learning to use music and learning in general as a tool to enhance their life,” Simmons said.

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Simmons said each new school year always brings a bit of nervousness, especially since the pandemic began.

“Every year I think so, COVID particularly, there’s always a lot of anxiety that comes with it that I hadn’t experienced before that and a little bit of unknown about what the kids are going to be like this year. It’s going to be exciting to get to see the new kids and to see what’s going to be coming and who’s going to be doing what. I’m looking forward to that to pulling it all and getting all in gear for the new year,” she said.

Simmons said teaching in the arts also gives students a chance to discover new talents.

“So often I get students who may not have experienced that success before and when they find that they’re good at something, particularly students that have really struggled with other things and just really feel like they’re never great at anything and then they just start to shine somewhere. And just one student that has that moment, it just erases a whole bunch of you know really tough moments it might have taken to get that student there,” she said.

Last year Simmons founded the nonprofit Central Florida Youth Chorus. She said the purpose is to help students develop and love and understanding of music and singing while using that knowledge to serve the community.

The training chorus is open to students in first through fifth grade. The concert chorus is for students in fourth through 12th grade. The group’s kick-off this year is Sept. 15. If you’d like more information or would like to sign up your child, visit www.cfyouthchorus.com.

About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.