Sam Struempler says if you think you have middle-schoolers figured out, think again.


“It’s right at that [age] where they start making decisions,” said Struempler, a music and drama teacher at Goldenview Middle School. “To be there at that moment is pretty cool.”


Struempler has been helping his students find their voices for the past 25 years — 16 of those years have been at Goldenview.


“Music is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Struempler said. “I’m still a student. I’m still learning.”


Struempler discovered his career path in college. He said between balancing choir rehearsals at night and going to business ethics classes during the day, he chose to go with his passion.


“I go back to the teacher who was most influential to me in high school, and that was my music teacher,” he said.


Struempler’s students say they feel the same way about him.


“You see his passion you see how much he loves to do this,” said Abby Webster, a student at Goldenview Middle School. “In the process you have a bunch of fun doing it.”


In a class with mostly girls, Struempler has become a role model for a lot of the guys interested in pursuing music.


“He’s kind of a role model to me I would say,” said student Brooks Miner. “He pushes me — not in a hard way, but in a way that makes feel like I can do better.”


“I set the bar pretty high, so it’s not easy,” Struempler said. “They have to work at it, but once they’ve accomplished a piece … that lesson carries through to everything.”


His lesson to students is that hard work pays off.


“If there’s any trick at all, it’s the hours,” Struempler said. “You have to put in the hours.”


Struempler’s students will perform at Goldenview Middle School’s annual winter choir concert on Tuesday, Dec. 8.


Click below for the full interview with Sam Struempler.




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