LA CRESCENT, MN (WXOW)—Each year, 52 area schools bring third and fourth grade students to the symphony for youth concert at Viterbo University.
It's a 45-minute concert, performed by the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.
The idea is providing an opportunity for students to see and hear a live performance.
This year, symphony partnered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota to provide a grant to an outstanding music teacher.
Music teachers had to apply for the Encore Award explaining how they prepare their students for the symphony for youth concert and how they would use the grant money.
The board of directors thought Barb Bjornstad's application stood out from the rest. They surprised her Friday morning at La Crescent-Hokah Elementary School.
"Pardon the interruption," Dawn Burns, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota Representative said. "We want to present you with check for $500 for you and your school. You are the recipient of the Encore Award for a teacher that goes above and beyond the classroom."
Julie Beddow-Schubert, Principal of La Crescent-Hokah Elementary School said Bjornstad goes way beyond the call of duty.
"The woman is here at 6 in the morning and is here until 6 at night," Beddow-Schubert said. "She is fully engaged in meeting the needs of kids and always 100-percent prepared."
She works, practically around the clock to, make sure her students are prepared not only for their time at the symphony but that the students lives are enriched with music.
"The recognition isn't what's necessary," Bjornstad said. "It is that the kids learn how to do these things and feel comfortable and that's it is ok to go the a symphony and enjoy it and love it."
She already has plans for the money.
"I'm looking to buy things to help them get moving when they're listening to music like ribbons, scarves also some more music supplies," Bjornstad said.
Money they all agree couldn't go to a more deserving teacher.
Bjornstad will be honored again at the Symphony for Youth Concerts next Wednesday.
This was the first Encore Award given out; they're planning to honor another music teacher next year.
For more information on nominating a teacher for the Encore Award contact the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota at 608-781-8080.
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