Imagine a job that lets you touch the lives of thousands of children, and imagine spending four decades of your life doing it.
A man who's taught music in Leon County since the early 1960s is teaching his last classes.
Leading third graders in a sound of music sing-a-long, even after 40 years of teaching music, Dr. Harry Martinez hasn't stopped learning himself.
“Because children don't all learn the same way, you might have a child who's not learning something, have to figure out why. Maybe something the teacher is doing. Have to do it a different way,” Dr. Martinez says.
He's coaching two seniors for a graduation performance next week. It'll be his own graduation of sorts too, after 41 years at Florida High. Martinez came here at age 20, straight out of FSU back in 1962.
Since then, he's taught generations of students, like current Florida High Staffer Jaye Corbett.
“The things he taught us when we were in school he's taught my daughter, Dorian now, to be the best person she can be, not necessarily follow the crowd,” says Jaye.
“He has the spirit I seek to recruit in new teachers that is it they have the passion for what
they do and they love children. It comes out when you're around him that he really cares about kids and takes it to the highest level,” says Principal Jesse Jackson.
Martinez has plenty of plans for retirement, and plenty of memories of a career spent teaching one of his favorite things.
Former students are invited to a reception for dr. Martinez next Tuesday afternoon at Florida High. It's from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Cafetorium.