After 29 years of teaching here in Weyburn, Music Director Tanya Cameron will be retiring at the end of this school year.
Not only does Cameron teach Band to all six grades (7-12) at Weyburn Comprehensive School, but she also teaches Junior Choir for Grades 7, 8, and 9, and a Jazz Band for Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. In addition, she directors a junior musical in the fall and a senior musical in the spring.
Cameron said she started teaching Band and English at the former Weyburn Junior High, but things snowballed for her after that.
"My second year, I was put to between the two schools, so I would teach at the junior high in the morning, I'd zip over here to the Comp at lunch and teach the Senior band, then I'd zip back and do some band at the junior high in the afternoon, so I was split like that for quite a while, and I also taught grade 10, 11, and 12 English at the Comp for 20 years. So sometimes I was teaching English and Band in the morning at the Comp, and then I'd go to the junior high in the afternoon," she shared. "I've had lots of changes over the years, and now I've just been at the Comp since the junior high closed (in 2018).
When you're a music teacher, you could be having more fun than teachers of other subjects, and Cameron said the best part about the job is the extracurricular activities.
"It's the most fun. You get to know the kids," she noted. "We just came back from a music trip to Calgary and Banff, and you get to know those kids so much better, and they get to know each other better. I had kids say to me, 'I talked to kids on this music trip, but I didn't even know who they were at school. Now I have a whole new group of friends!', and it was just so exciting for them to be able to do that again, after two years of nothing, with COVID."
A former student of Cameron's, Brayden King, shared how involved she was over the years with her students' music careers.
"She had an incredible impact on me musically," said King. "She was always so supportive of what all of us were doing in school with music, but also outside of school. She was always so interested in, 'oh where you boys going to play this week?' and all this stuff, and she'd always come to support us. We were extremely, extremely lucky to have her as a teacher for as many years as we got to."
King said when he played with his local band Seventh Avenue, "I remember a good handful of times where she came out to watch us play, which is just so, so cool."
Cameron shared how rewarding it has been to see some of her students take on music as a career.
"It's really cool when students graduate and they move on to careers in music, like Brayden [King] has, and Tenille Arts has, and I also have probably about five students who've moved on to become music teachers and band directors, and so that's really cool to see, you know, your students loved it so much that they wanted to do it as well."
She plans to be around to help out as needed, as a substitute.
"It's difficult to find someone to sub for Band all the time, and it's hard to get a teacher that can keep doing band when the band teacher needs to be away, so I want to do some subbing. I still want to stay in touch with the building, and help out with musicals, and volunteer and help out a little bit here at the school."
Cameron added that retirement will afford her the time she needs to spend more time with family, including her father, as well as her two grown daughters who now live in Calgary.