NewsInspiring South Florida


Music teacher goes above and beyond to keep students and their families connected

Posted at 5:07 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 17:07:52-05

There's a lot of reasons the kids at Gulf Stream School say they love their Director of Music, Mr. W.D. -- Rob White-Davis.

Sixth-grader Ella Capri Spencer agrees, "Oh, he's so much fun he is a lot of fun whenever I walk into the classroom it’s always like very happy."

And so does fourth-grader Noelle Barthelette.

“His love of music has made my love of music grow," she said.

And for 13-year educator White-Davis, there's plenty of things to like about the school including grandparents and special friends day.

“Grandparents and special friends day is personally my favorite event of the year because I love seeing those grandparents interact,” says White-Davis.

It’s a chance for family and close friends to come to campus and see what students have been working on. But not this year.

"Because the grandparents aren’t able to come to school this year because of COVID-19," explains Spencer.

The pandemic meant virtual teaching White-Davis and his students.

“We have to do it on our iPads virtually and it’s still really fun but sometimes get a little glitchy." says Barthelette.

White-Davis adapted but he says he felt it was the grandparents who were missing out.

“Knowing that they were not going to be able to be here this year it was like okay how are we going to be able to give them something so they know they’re extremely important,” he said.

It meant making extra space in his classroom for a video production studio.

More than 100 hours of self-taught editing and weekend singing sessions later, his “Thank You” project was complete and receiving rave reviews from its intended audience -- family members.

"Yes, they did. They loved it they told me like five or six times and said it was so good you did such a great job Noelle,” recalls Barthelette.

While learning looks different this year, White-Davis says the music feels the same.

"When this pandemic started I figured I’d have to change my way of teaching so I could still reach the students learn have fun and get smarter," he said.

They're getting smarter and inspired to chase their own dreams.