Anderdon’s beloved music teacher retiring at end of school year

 

By Joel Charron

If it were up to Melody Fitzpatrick, she would fade into the background and disappear like a whisper.

However, that’s not how her students want her to go out.

Fitzpatrick, Anderdon Public School’s music teacher is calling it a career after 31 years.

Fitzpatrick began her career has a student teacher at Anderdon in 1979 before being hired as a supply teacher in Windsor in 1980. In 1981 the former Essex County School Board hired Fitzpatrick as a full time teacher.

After teaching stints in Leamington and Tecumseh, Fitzpatrick returned to where it all began, taking a teaching position at Anderdon in 1988.

“Everyone who ever comes here says this is a great school, a happy place to be,” said Fitzpatrick. “The staff has always been warm, friendly and passionate about the students.”

Having a degree in music, Fitzpatrick said she was probably hired in 1981 because of her background in

After 31 years, Melody Fitzpatrick will call it a career after the school year has wrapped up.

music. At first, Fitzpatrick taught kindergarten, but also taught a Grade 6 class.

“I taught ukulele,” she chuckled.

Fitzpatrick recalls her first day of teaching being very warm outside and was faced with the decision of keeping the window shut, thus keep the classroom boiling or opening it and getting the smell of the nearby pig farm flowing through the classroom. To add to the day, Fitzpatrick added that one of her students became ill and vomited all over the floor.

“I though, ‘this is not a good day’. But it’s gotten better and better,” she said.

When Fitzpatrick made her return to Anderdon, she taught junior kindergarten then moved into the music department for years when the school’s teachers transferred.

Fitzpatrick said she has been “lucky” to have principals with either a music or drama background.

While Fitzpatrick has had many highlights in her 31-year career she said seeing the school’s wind ensemble consistently earning a first place finish at the Kiwanis Music Festival and the addition of a marching and concert band with Marlborough Public School in Windsor as highlights that stick out.

Fitzpatrick said she formed the band with colleague Tim Beneteau and that has been a partnership that has worked well with students making new friends along the way.

“We wanted to combine the city and county kids in some way,” she said.

Another highlight was tuning into the 2010 Winter Olympics to see former student Greg Samek performing in one of the bands.

“That’s really cool to see one of your students in the Olympics,” she said.

Fitzpatrick said she is ready to retire, stating that she has family commitments. She also noted that she wants to make room for new teachers.

“The teachers coming out of university are very good and very passionate,” she said. “I feel the students education will be in good hands.”

Fitzpatrick said music will continue to be a part of her life. She plans to become a part of her father,’s band, Bob Brew & The Dalhouise St. Paraders, as well as, keeping her involvement with the Gemini Wind Ensemble concert band.

Fitzpatrick said it is a sad time for her, stating that Anderdon has become her “second home” and looks at the staff and students as her “second family.”

“You always feel a little bit of excitement you are retiring and made it through 31 years and accomplished what you’ve accomplished,” she said. “I think this is the best job. Working with the kids from Anderdon and the community, I feel so blessed. Anderdon has amazing, talented, smart, caring students. I am proud to have been able to work with them.”

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