‘Instrumental part of many lives:’ Beloved Oviedo High School choir director dies

Bill Schult taught at high school for 20 years

OVIEDO, Fla. – A beloved choir director died over the weekend, according to the Oviedo High School principal.

Bill Schult — known as “Schult” by his students — was “an instrumental part of many lives,” Oviedo High School principal Dr. Trent Daniel said in a message on Sunday sent to families.

“It seems so, like, surreal right now,” said 16-year-old Rebekah Waters, one of Schult’s many choir students who found it hard to go back to school Monday.

She said Schult was known for performing during class, whether he was doing it genuinely or just goofing around.

“He was just always so happy all the time and always so nice. You could always go to him and talk about like anything,” Waters said.

An Instagram video posted by the school’s TV production team, WROR-TV, on Monday shows a profile on the impact Schult made in his 26 years teaching, 20 of which were at Oviedo High School.

“For me, teaching is the most important profession because it’s how we pass on the collective knowledge and experience that the entire human race has discovered thus far,” Schult said in the video. “But on a more personal level, it’s about, like, I don’t necessarily think of myself as a teacher so much as I think of myself as a responsible adult in all my students’ lives, or in some cases, even a dad or grandpa or cool uncle or something.”

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Oviedo High School alumnus Brendan Carney, who graduated in 2021, said Schult was like a second dad to him.

Schult, who also taught piano and music tech, said in the school profile he hoped he was a safe haven for students who came to him with questions and problems because “everyone faces challenges, (but) it’s the ability to overcome them that’s what’s gonna end up being the best part of your life.”

And according to the students who adored him, he was.

“His room was a safe place for everybody, in choir, even outside of choir,” Carney said. “If you were having a tough time, he was always there to talk to you.”

Oviedo High School junior Max Broennle added he was a teacher who pushed you, but didn’t dismiss your accomplishments.

“He literally sees his kids as his children and genuinely treats them how they’re supposed to be treated,” junior Max Broennle said in the video. “I have had a good amount of teachers, but the biggest one is Schult.”

Even Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek recalled his outgoing personality at the school’s performing arts showcase.

“We’ve got some big shoes to fill, but I’m sure that all his students who are gonna carry on next year, they will find a way to honor his memory,” the mayor said.

Daniel said Seminole County school district grief counselors, alongside long-standing Oviedo High School choir program volunteers Tom and Cathy, wereavailable Monday for anyone needing assistance.

“The process of grieving is different for every person and can be very complicated, especially if it is unexpected,” Daniel said in the message to students and families. “We encourage parents/guardians to discuss this incident with your student tonight to address any concerns or questions they may have and to gauge their level of grief in dealing with a loss of a teacher. Please contact me with any questions or concerns by calling 407-320-4001 or emailing me directly Trent_Daniel@scps.k12.fl.us. Our hearts and our love are with Mr. Schult’s family during this difficult time.”

To donate to a GoFundMe page set up for the Bill Schult Memorial Scholarship Fund, click here.

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