Although his teaching career is coming to an end, the life long lessons and memories Dawson Strutt’s students have created over the years will live on for many more to come.
Strutt has been a band educator at Onalaska High School for more than a decade.
"This is my 16th year here, it's actually my 38th year of teaching,” said Strutt.
From annual band concerts to parades to the national stage Strutt and his students have done it all.
"Our kids have been to the Outback Bowl a couple of times, which is a national competition. They've competed as a concert band in New York City for the Heritage Music Festival and won grand championship there as well,” said Strutt.
However, performing on a local stage is one of Strutt's biggest accomplishments.
“Especially the community service events like Operation Home Front, we've done a lot of things for them, the Freedom Honor flights our kids really enjoy,” said Strutt.
“He brings community service and giving back to us, and we can do that for the community and that is awesome,” said Emily Brieske, drum major for the Onalaska High School.
With a variety of opportunities for students, Strutt still finds time to teach the most basic of qualities.
"He's taught me patience, and that is key for my position and that is what I've learned from him the most,” said Brieske.
Not only does Strutt impact his current students but he has also managed to create a lasting impression with former students as well.
"It's always a neat moment when a former student will write and say, 'Hey Mr. Strutt, you will never guess what I am doing or what's happening,'” said Strutt.
But Strutt said that is all part of being in a band program.
"They have a high interest because they gave so much time and passion to it; I don't think that ever leaves you, it's a great connection,” said Strutt.
Strutt has decided to retire this year but you can bet that wonderful music connection will never leave him either.
"I've had a great, great time; I've enjoyed my time as a music educator, as I've said I've had great kids, great parents and great communities to support programs,” said Strutt.
Strutt plans to spend more time with his family and grandkids.
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