What does it mean to lose a gifted teacher whose value way exceeds expectations? How do you measure his worth?
To say all music teachers or any teacher for that matter is interchangeable is like saying all doctors are interchangeable. Which would you choose for your operation – a general surgeon, or one who specializes in your ailment?
Like many music teachers, Mark Kapral could be losing his job due to a recent decision by Fulton County to release any teacher employed less than 50% at the high school level. Mark teaches 60% at Summit Hill Elementary and 40% at Milton High School… at least that’s what’s on paper. However, Mark is not your average music teacher and band director. Here are the facts:
Mr. Kapral started Milton High School’s indoor drumline three years ago and it has already achieved national recognition. Under his leadership, Milton became one of only two high school indoor drumlines in Georgia to ever earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal in the world championships and the only high school drumline in Fulton County that competes at the second highest level in the country. He also managed to lead Milton’s symphonic band in grade 6 composition, the highest level piece of music available, at their large group performance. In addition to leading the Milton drumline for many hours weekly, Mark teaches three concert bands, three percussion ensembles, instructs percussion students every Thursday from Northwestern Middle School and teaches steel drum. These feats alone would be impressive, however this is just a fraction of what Mark Kapral brings to the table.
He is also one of the few band directors around with complete knowledge in all areas of band including brass, woodwinds and percussion, whereas many band directors teach only one of these three.
Like a teacher obsessed, Mark’s mission is making sure every student has the skills needed to be the best and he does this by going way beyond his job description. In fact, although he’s required to teach only two classes at Milton, based on the percentages laid out by the county, Mark teaches an additional two classes with zero added compensation.
This past week, the middle school LGPE music competition was held at Mays High School on Fulton’s south side, quite a trek from North Fulton, and although he didn’t have to be there, and doesn’t get paid to be there, Mark Kapral was there – giving his support to Northwestern Middle School’s 7th grade band. And if there’s a band student whose grades are faltering, Mark not only counsels them, he monitors their progress to make sure they’re keeping their grades up. Because of this, many of his students have gone on to receive scholarships and pursue music degrees.
To his students, Mr. Kapral, or Kappy as they lovingly call him, is much more than a teacher and bandleader. He’s an inspiration. He’s the sole reason they practice hours upon hours every day with steel determination and an unfaltering desire to live up to the expectations of the man they all look up to and greatly admire. A man who means so much to them, he’s managed to turn high school from being a chore into something they actually enjoy and which will undoubtedly affect them the rest of their lives.
Please, don’t let our Mr. Kapral get away.