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2015 Teacher of the Year

01/28/2015 06:54AM, Published by Hood Magazine, Categories: Education, Schools, Arts+Entertainment, In Print, Community


Photo courtesy of studiofotografie


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By Jessica Brovold


If you’re a student in Mr. Ferri’s music class at Lawrence Elementary School in Canton, S.D., there’s a pretty good chance you’ve learned the “Lawrence Boogie.” The school-themed song gets the class off to a rockin’ start and gets the kids fully engaged.

“I love that I can share my greatest passion, the gift of music, with my students,” said Ferri.

The gift of music brings more than enthusiasm to the classroom. It’s a way for Ferri to connect in what he calls a “magical way.”

“Music gives energy, inspires hearts and provides a lifetime of enjoyment,” said Ferri. “Music is contagious! Sharing music is like offering someone a spoonful of magic!”

Ferri has been a music teacher for the past 13 years. From Nebraska to Colorado and now Canton, he says the kids make his job so rewarding.

“I find rewards in the success of each student,” said Ferri. “Whether it’s a kindergartner finding their steady beat for the first time, or a student making All-State, their joy affirms the value of my efforts.”

And his efforts don’t go unnoticed. Gabe Devitt is a second year principal at Lawrence Elementary. His daughter is also in kindergarten at the school. She can’t seem to get enough of what she’s learning in Mr. Ferri’s class.

“My kindergartner sings songs and I ask her who taught her that song,” said Devitt. “She says, “Mr. Ferri!”

“The way he gets it across to his kids, he shows it’s important to him and that carries over to the kids,” said Devitt. “His personality is good for a music teacher, whether its kindergarten, or 5th grade, he tailors the music to them and the instruction.”

When Emerson T, a 4th grader was writing up her nomination for Teacher of the Year, she knew exactly who she would choose.

“He is always encouraging and he wants you to do your best,” said Emerson. “He’s willing to take time out of his day to help other people.”

Mr. Ferri spends time helping students like Emerson with their singing. He plays piano and she sings along to popular songs like “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen.

While she’s only nine, Emerson says Mr. Ferri is helping to shape her future.

“I want to do something related to music,” said Emerson. “I want to try out for one of the TV shows and I want to grow up and do plays and be a Broadway actress. I’ve been doing plays since I was in kindergarten.”

With a music background between music ministry and music education, Ferri hopes he leaves a lasting impression on those he encounters.

“Music is a subject that transcends disabilities,” said Ferri. “Everyone can find a measure of success in music, both vocal and instrumental. There are no benchwarmers in music. Performance is a holistic experience, from the sixth chair clarinet to the first chair trombone—every musician has value!”

 ‘Hood’s 2015 Teacher of the Year

Mr. Ferri

Lawrence Elementary Music Teacher

Canton, SD

“Mr. Ferri loves to help people and is VERY enthusiastic. He trains individuals to help them be better musicians. He has worked very hard to get our small town elementary school in all-state honor choir when most small towns don’t. He sows us pentatonix videos to get us more interested in music. He loves music and wants us to love it too!”

Nominated by Emerson T.


Special thanks to Jill Melchert Insurance Agency for being this year's sponsor!





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