Stevenson band instructor gets top educator honor

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 3, 2016

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A Stevenson High School music teacher and band director earned some local fanfare after being named a top teacher by School Band and Orchestra magazine.

Michael Sekich joined the ranks of the magazine’s “18th Annual 50 Directors Who Make A Difference Report.” The results were published in the magazine’s December 2015 issue.

Sekich, 49, is a Stevenson graduate who has been a band director there for around 25 years. He directs Stevenson’s marching, symphonic and jazz bands, as well as the wind ensemble. During the day, he teaches instrumental music, and he also is Utica Community Schools’ fine arts systemwide co-chair.

Sekich said he was surprised to learn of the award, adding that the organizers tried to contact him, but he thought they were fundraising messages. Finally, the school asked him to return a call, and that’s when he found out about the news.

“And I was like, wow, and then it kind of hit,” he said. “But it’s a very humbling experience. I don’t like to be in the limelight. It’s all about (the students).”

Three of Sekich’s band students were instrumental in helping him get nominated: Stevenson seniors Ashley Hare, Samantha Tosa and Paige Broadworth. Together they created a private Facebook page in late 2014 and started an effort to get fellow students, parents and alumni to launch a collective nomination effort.

Broadworth, 18, said she discovered the nomination process while looking for scholarships. When she realized that the magazine opportunity was for teachers and not students, she let her bandmates know about it.

Broadworth described Sekich as really cool with a personalized teaching style.

“He doesn’t look at us as one unit, but he also sees individuals and their individual strengths,” she said.

Hare, 17, said she started off playing bass clarinet at Stevenson, but Sekich worked with her so she could learn to play tenor sax. She said she will remember Sekich’s passion for music even after she graduates.

“He helped me find my love for music, and I’ll never forget that,” she said.

Tosa, 18, also appreciates Sekich’s personality and his ability to be a friend to his students when needed.

“He is so caring, and he’s really funny too, and he makes learning very enjoyable,” she said.

Sekich said caring for his students’ growth is a major part of his teaching style.

“All the other stuff kind of falls into place,” he said. “As an educator, I’m still learning every day.”

To find out more about Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights, visit www.uticak12.org or call (586) 797-1000.

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