Golden Apple Award: Roger Payne, Whitwell Middle School
WHITWELL, TN (WDEF) – Musicals have become an annual tradition at Whitwell Middle School. For the last 25 years Roger Payne has been the man behind the music. It’s a great way for kids to showcase their talents and support each other. And Mr. Payne always finds a way to bring out their best.
Kim Headrick is the Principal at Whitwell Middle.
She says, “Mr. Payne is a seasoned educator. He has probably been in education for close to 40 years, and all of that time, with exception of one or two years, he has been in the Fine Arts program. He is one of the most amazing music teachers that you will ever meet.
When asked to describe himself, Mr. Payne says, “Roger Payne is a teacher, a musician, a person who has a great desire to do well and all the things he does.”
He adds, “I was inspired by my piano teacher growing up a lot. I was inspired by a lot of people in my church, who encouraged me as a young church musician. I started playing in church when I was 12 years old, and I had a lot of encouragement from people. They were really an inspiration to me.”
When asked why he teaches, Roger responded, “I do it because I love kids. I care about kids, and as I say, I just really want them to love and appreciate music and the values of music. We’ve done the Broadway junior musicals for about the last 17 years or so. It would involve a lot of students, and they would get a chance to get up on the stage and put together an entire production involving custom scenery, sound, script, and choreography. It’s a really big production. So I hope they remember those times when they did things and were actually able to get up there and perform.”