I am celebrating my 20th year of teaching by profiling former students who are doing great things in their field. As I've watched them grow into adults, I have been impressed with an aspect of their lives and want to share them with you. I fully recognize that I was merely a small part in their growth and development, but I can't help to be proud. By highlighting these former students I hope to encourage other teachers that what we do is a noble and worthy cause. We have the ability to boost others to greatness we have never considered.
Walk into Crossroads Church in Florence, KY, any given weekend and you’ll see a multi-talented young man leading the singing up there on the stage. Depending on the music set and the other musicians playing that week, you’ll see him singing, playing drums, keyboard, guitar, or anything really. In fact, there was one week he played an espresso machine.
Aaron started his music career normally enough. Like most kids, it all began in fifth grade. At the time he was in my wife’s class, and he gravitated to the drums. Something must have clicked because by the end of 6th grade, he was playing a full drum set -- and sounding pretty good, too. I don’t know how many elementary band concerts you’ve been to, but the percussion section is normally full of kids playing one instrument at a time trying hard to be on beat. To have a sixth grader playing a set is rare.
At my previous school, sixth grade was the last year of elementary school and we celebrated with a graduation program of sorts. We routinely had kids sing solos as part of the choral singing, but it was rare to highlight their instrumental prowess. In fact, it’s so rare that only one student in my memory played an instrument during the annual Salute to Sixth Grade program -- Aaron Hunt and his drums.
Music quickly became a passion for Aaron, and he started learning new instruments. It wasn’t long before he was playing professionally. Seabird is a local band that has hit the national stage, and Aaron was their drummer for the early years. Not long after he left Seabird, he popped up with Belle Histoire, another local band, working alongside the extremely vocally-talented Jane Smith (another former student). Just as their popularity was hitting stride, Aaron dropped out of that band too. He then tried something that sounded a bit odd to me, but it worked. He turned his living room into a recording studio and started recording other artists.
Aaron believes that this musical journey has prepared him for his current calling -- church leadership. He felt a strong calling to lead worship in a local church, and it wasn’t long before he met the worship leader at Crossroads (a multi-campus church in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky) who offered to work with him. Aaron is learning through this mentorship and is leading worship at Crossroads’ Florence, KY, campus.
And, in an odd twist of fate, Aaron is now my worship pastor, and I get to hear him sing and play on a weekly basis.
My wife and I had an interesting relationship with the Hunt Family. While I had Aaron’s older sister Rachel in sixth grade, he was in my wife’s fifth grade class. Rachel -- who was never in Celeste’s fifth grade class -- always said that my wife was her favorite teacher. The summer after that year, we took Rachel and Aaron to Kings Island for a day. I’m not sure how that came about, but we loved it. I taught a lesson where I compared a story’s plot progression to a roller coaster, and I told stories from that day for years to come.
Aaron also wanted me to tell you that he was the only sixth grader to ever tackle me. We were playing freeze tag during recess one day. Aaron took a flying leap at me (and I’m not sure why) and next thing I knew we were both sprawled on the ground.
I would like to be able to tell you that I taught Aaron everything he knows about music (or at least something about music) but that’s just not going to be true. I appreciate good music but am really bad at making good music. However, I am glad that he found drudged up some sort of positive influence I had in his life. (And, no, it wasn’t my superior knowledge of compound sentences.)
You were always very encouraging to me. I am thankful that our friendship wasn't just in the classroom. You made an effort to reach out to me. You obviously cared that I succeeded in school, but ultimately I think you really cared that I succeeded in life.
I mentioned in a previous post that I conceived this blog series while in church. While listening to a message series about building into people, I couldn’t help but to see the evidence right in front of my eyes. Up on stage, leading us in music,was someone who I had the honor and privilege of building into, and it’s so cool to see him now building into others.
Aaron is engaged to be married next month, so it’s no surprise that his long-term plans involve settling down and becoming a family man. He’d love to buy some farmland and set up a recording studio in a barn. And I selfishly hope that he stays at Crossroads for a long time too.
You can find some of Aaron’s music at www.aaronhuntmusic.com, where you can download some tunes and enjoy his songs if you want..
I don’t hide the fact that I’m a Christian teaching at a Christian school, but I also don’t make a big deal about my faith on this blog, either. My goal of spreading educational technology love can be applied to anyone of any (or no) faith. However, Aaron’s church position kinda lends itself to some preaching. If you’ve read to this point, then, you probably won’t mind Aaron’s final words to resonate in your heart and life.
I truly believe that God has good things for us. We just have to receive them and be obedient to His commands. That doesn't mean everything will be easy, in fact it will probably be really hard. I think it's most important to surround yourself with people that will encourage and challenge you to be the person God has designed you to be.
"This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Finally, it’s picture time! Aaron couldn’t dig up 6th grade pictures with me, but he did provide me with some good ones from yesteryear and modern day. Enjoy!