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The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

A cappella teacher Keith Schwartz focuses on helping students flourish

A+capella+celebrates+after+the+groups+15th+anniversary+concert%2C+at+Baskin+Robbins+on+Oct.+21.
Photo courtesy @woottonacapella on Instagram
A capella celebrates after the group’s 15th anniversary concert, at Baskin Robbins on Oct. 21.

A cappella teacher, senior class sponsor and alumnus Keith Schwartz is more than just an educator. Whether he is lending an ear to students’ problems, listening to his favorite music or using his photographic memory to recall past students’ car models, Schwartz is a student favorite at the school.

Schwartz’s first experience teaching came while he was in graduate school when he taught voice lessons to undergraduate students at Indiana University. Having enjoyed the experience, he was pleasantly surprised when he received an offer to teach as a long-term substitute at his old high school, but had his fair share of obstacles to overcome. “I learned it all as I was going,” Schwartz said.

Whether he is talking to his students during or after class, a main perk of teaching for Schwartz is the way it “keeps me young. I like to teach high school because it keeps me up with the current trends,” Schwartz said.

Another reason Schwartz loves teaching is because he gets to watch his students grow. Schwartz especially enjoys watching his students go from singing shyly to belting out songs with confidence. Schwartz said, “I love watching students who never in a million years thought they would sing in high school compete on stage and I like knowing that part of that reason is that I helped them get there.”

Besides helping students gain the confidence to sing, Schwartz also helps with the technical side of their singing. “He helped me learn how to belt and project my voice forward which has helped me both in a cappella and traditional music,” senior and a cappella captain Gurnoor Sodhi said.

Schwartz also aids students whenever he can, helping them deal with academic problems, social problems, or just life in general. “He acts like a friend; he’s always there to listen,” senior and a cappella member Meilani Rodgers said.

Since he first started teaching at the school in 2015, Schwartz has loved his time here. In addition to a cappella and spending time with his students, Schwartz has really enjoyed getting to know his fellow teachers. “The staff hasn’t really changed that much since I’ve been here, so I’ve been able to get closer to teachers,” Schwartz said.

In addition to teaching a cappella, Schwartz also sponsors the class of 2024. Schwartz plays an integral role in Splanning activities such as helping students plan the school-wide tie-dye event and participating in the senior class’s homecoming pep rally skit. Sodhi, who is also in Splanning, has enjoyed working with Schwartz on these events. “He’s really hard working and will take on a lot of projects,” Sodhi said.

As a student, Schwartz was interested in more than music. In high school, he participated in theater, was interested in psychology and his favorite subject was math, due to its similarity to music. Having been in such close proximity to students throughout his years of teaching, Schwartz has advice for current students. “A small problem with Wootton is people spend so much time focusing on the future. It’s important to remember to enjoy your time in high school as well,” Schwartz said.

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About the Contributor
Arjun Ram, staff writer
Senior Arjun Ram is a staff writer in his first year on the Common Sense Staff. In his free time, he enjoys playing baseball and the guitar. You can find him on Instagram @arjun_.ram
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