December Chalkboard Champion for Manatee County: Mrs. Eskildsen from Manatee High

Chalkboard Champions | Emily Eskildsen

SARASOTA (WWSB) - ABC7 is teaming up with Gettel Automotive to celebrate teachers in our community – we’re calling them Chalkboard Champions.

We ask the community to nominate a teacher and then we select two winners for Sarasota and Manatee County each month.

We head to Bradenton for December’s Manatee County Chalkboard Champion. ABC7′s Jacqueline Matter takes us to Manatee High School to meet orchestra director, Emily Eskildsen.

We all know there's at least one teacher we remember from our time in school that made all the difference.

For Manatee High School Sophomore Hailey Loop, that teacher is Ms. Eskildsen.

In 6th grade, Hailey decided to join the orchestra on a whim.

That decision spurring a friendship between Ms. E and Hailey that has grown since she entered her classroom five years ago.

"Originally I was going to Bayshore but once I found out that she started working here I was like, definitely going to Manatee because I want to have her for all seven years,” said Hailey.

Ms. Eskildsen said, “When she first started in 6th grade she was shy, reserved, never wanted to sit in the front at concerts or have solos, and now just to see her in fiddling, doing fiddling solos and volunteering to sit in the front. She’s really got that go get it attitude.”

Ms. E’s orchestra program at Manatee High has motivated Hailey.

She now strives to get good grades and wants to attend the very same college Ms. E went to, Florida State University, in hopes of following in her footsteps.

Beth Vinson, Hailey’s mom, said, “It’s hard to motivate a child sometimes to go to college and Ms. E’s done it for me."

Vinson continued to say, "Mrs. E makes her want to go to college, she wants to go to the same college she went to, she wants to be a violist, so I don’t have to make her want college. She already does.”

When it comes to Ms. E’s approach with her students, “Positivity first. I think my main goal as a teacher is that by the time they graduate they can perform by themselves in a chamber ensemble, that they can make those decisions you need to make musically by themselves," Eskildsen said.

It’s easy to see Ms. E’s love and knowledge for music has provided a passion and bright future, not only for Hailey, but for countless other students in Manatee County.

“She really deserves this. Mrs. E puts so much time and effort, she treats us as her own basically,” Hailey said. "She calls us her kids. She loves this program with her whole heart.”

“I just wanted her to know how much we appreciate everything she’s done and continues to do, not just for Hailey but for all her students," Vinson continued to say.

Ms. E says she plans to put the 500 dollars won from Gettel Automotive back into the orchestra program, specifically to buy new basses.

If you’re interested in nominating a teacher from Sarasota or Manatee County, click here.

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