Troy, Missouri – During two decades of teaching music at Troy Buchanan High School, Eric Blankenship has become one of the school’s most honored and valued educators.
In 2020, Blankenship was honored as Lincoln County R-III Teacher of the Year, however, his fellow teachers across the state bestowed upon him an even higher honor as he was recently honored with the 2021 Missouri Music Educators Association, Dr. Wynne J. Harrell Outstanding Educator Award.
“I am honored to be nominated for this award and flattered that the Missouri Music Educators Association has chosen me as this year’s recipient,” said Blankenship, a 24-year-old educator who began his teaching career as as deputy group manager at Park Hill. Kansas City High School before arriving at Troy Buchanan.
The award is nominated by peers and then voted on by the board of directors of the Missouri Music Educators Association. The MMEA solicits candidates from its members across the state.
Blankenship said that to win such an award, you need a village – and that village is made up of students and assistants who are former students.
No one runs a village alone.
“It’s been a crazy race and I’m flattered by all the recognition. However, I think a music program is more than just a teacher, ”Blankenship said. “Our music program is a combination of great kids and inspiring staff. I believe our entire music team is doing an exceptional job, and I’m just proud to be a part of it. Our high school and college music department has eight full-time teachers, and I am proud to teach alongside them every day. Of those eight teachers, three of them are actually alumni of Troy and alumni of mine.
“I think it’s a testament to our music programs we’ve built in Troy that our graduates not only choose to study music, but also want to come back and be a part of our program as educators. . “
When Blankenship sees this award, he sees all of his current and former students. He also said teaching isn’t about earning honors, it’s about changing lives.
“I think there are a significant number of teachers in our district and across the state who deserve this award,” he said. “I’m not really concerned and instead just want to make sure that I show up every day and help provide the best possible music education for students in our community.
“As a longtime teacher of Troy R-III and a resident of Troy, I don’t really see this award as something that I have won, but rather as recognition of all the outstanding current and former students with whom I had the opportunity to work. in our community.
Even after 20 years in Troy, Blankenship said his mission was not over yet. More lives can be shaped by what it has to offer young people.
“I believe that music is an integral part of everyone’s life,” he said. “I believe that whatever career path a student chooses, the arts (music, theater or visual arts) should be an essential part of every student’s education.
“The arts not only help students develop skills that they can use throughout their lives, but also provide them with the opportunity to grow emotionally and become more culturally aware of the world around them. “