PORT ORANGE, Fla. — Take one step inside Jeremy Blackwell's Jazz band class and you'll see his passion on full display as well as the dedication and motivation of his students. They are driven.
Blackwell is the Director of Bands at Atlantic High School in Port Orange and smiles as he explains how many students he teaches in a day, "Whew. Daily. I see about 125 to 150 kids a day." He says the connection he builds with his students is the foundation for everything they do. "If I'm not having the greatest of days, 'Just say, hey how you are you doing today?' So that's been the culture that we've built here, being a shark family, making sure that we're all okay. Making sure that we're always making music and making the best of our days."
You can see that Blackwell really loves his career. He says, "I treat them just like they're my kids and I'm passionate about them being my kids. I hold them to a high standard."
Those are standards he learned early on. Blackwell adds, "I went to college. I was in the Marching Wildcats in the symphonic band. I was student director, and it's been in my system ever since I was four playing in the church."
So what does he enjoy the most about his job?
Blackwell says, "I get to see my kids become young professionals. See them go to colleges with scholarship opportunities. Making those ways for them. Them succeeding is my succeeding. If you give a kid an opportunity, they can go anywhere."