10TV has teamed up with the Ohio Education Association and 97.1 The Fan to honor these heroes who make a difference in children’s lives.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – If he’s not in a suit and tie, Matt Stanley is probably wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
One alumnus estimates that the Washington High School group principal has a different one for each day of the year.
But that’s just one of the many, great memories Tyler Phillips has of his former band manager.
âHe’s got a very unique way of impacting kids by helping them deal with their feelings through music,â Phillips said.
Phillips was part of Stanley’s group over a decade ago, and he said it was a safe haven from bullying for him.
âWhen I first came to a group, I just knew it was my safe place and my comfort, and just seeing it and having its influence in my life helped me see that there was much more in the world than just a bully, âhe said.
That’s just one of the reasons he wanted to name Stanley as a class hero. He knows how much music can change the life of a young person.
âHe doesn’t think of his students as students,â Phillips said. âThese are his children. In many ways, he loves them like his children. He does not approach her as a teacher. He definitely approaches this as a parent and makes sure we thrive and be successful in his classes.
And Stanley has helped hundreds of students succeed over the 26 years he has worked in schools in the city of Washington Court House.
âIt really is a compliment for the students to come back years later and say it was a momentous time in my life, and you were a part of it,â he said.
Stanley started in the group in fifth grade, eventually swapping clarinet for trombone once he got to high school. After that, he decided to pursue musical studies at Ohio University.
Of course, he never looked back. And his path was undoubtedly the right one. He helped grow the marching band, which grew from 28 original students to 185 about 10 years ago. Over the past 15 or 16 years, the group has grown to over 100 members every year.
âWhen they finish high school when they leave my group program, I hope they had fun,â Stanley said. âI hope they have learned to master their instrument. I hope they enjoyed their time making music in my class. “