A lifetime love of music and a passion for teaching it to others has landed a Penn Run native the 2019 High School Choral Teacher of the Year award in North Carolina.
Ed Yasick Jr. was recognized in late 2019 with the award, given by the North Carolina Music Educator’s Association High School Choral Section.
The choral director and fine arts chairman at Cary High School, in Cary, N.C., Yasick, 49, has taught at Cary since 1996 after teaching for two years at another North Carolina school, as well as at Indiana Area Junior High School. He is also a 1991 IUP music education graduate.
Yasick said his love of music started as a child, when in fourth grade he started playing the organ his mother had in their home. By sixth grade, he took over as organist at St. Patrick’s Church in Camerons Bottom.
In school, he got involved with chorus and band and “really got into the music there.”
“I have always enjoyed music,” Yasick said. “I have such a passion for music, and I try to pass that on to my students. … My kids see how much I love music, what a joy it brings me, and they in turn want to be part of that.”
As fine arts chairman, Yasick overseas the entire department and teaches chorus classes, music theory and more.
Over his years at Cary, Yasick built up the program from something that was “very small” with about 18 kids to one where some of his beginner classes have 90 students enrolled.
“Chorus has become an exciting part of the school,” he said. “Kids want to be a part of it.”
Another reason the program thrives is due to having “a strong administration that’s supportive of the arts,” he said.
For that reason, he believes the program will remain strong.
“People are realizing that education is not just core subjects, but everything together,” he said.
For Yasick, seeing students’ excitement and the joy that music brings is what he enjoys most about the teaching chorus.
He knows he’s “teaching a skill that they can use throughout their lives” — such as working together — whether they move on to a career in music or not.
“You can always have music as a part of your life,” he said. “You can use those skills no matter what the job. It’s not just about them. It’s about the entire group.”
He looks forward to continuing his work and said it was an honor to be recognized by other chorus teachers in North Carolina.
“As teachers, I feel we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to help kids become lifelong learners of music and experience the love we have in making music,” Yasick said. “Students in our classrooms learn skills that will remain with them the rest of their lives and many of their fondest memories of high school are from being in chorus. I have been honored over the years to work with so many great kids and help them achieve their goals. Every day in the classroom or on the stage is such a joy for me to work with young people in making beautiful, meaningful music together.”
Yasick is the son of Mary A. Yasick, of Penn Run, and the late Edward T. Yasick Sr.
His previous awards include the NCMEA High School Choral Section Lifetime Achieve Award, Cary High School Teacher of the Year and Cary Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year for Excellence in Music, Fine Arts and Drama. He is also involved in the North Carolina Music Educator’s Association, serving in the past as section chairman as well as on the board.