Sheila Gallimore Lusk
I first met Mrs. Sandra Smith when I was in fourth grade, around age 9, in elementary school music class. I immediately loved singing and Mrs. Smith’s music class. As I matured through school, so did my love for music and singing. Not only has she always been a great teacher and mentor, but she also taught all of us how to be proper ladies and gentlemen and to appreciate diverse cultures and music. We did a different musical each year and Madrigal dinners, and she took us to audition for All regional, All State and Honors Choir, which was always a wonderful experience every year!
When I decided to apply for the music program at Radford University, Mrs. Smith helped me choose the pieces to sing and coached me for my audition. Thanks to Mrs. Smith, not only was I accepted to Radford, but was awarded the freshman music scholarship. I studied vocal performance and was blessed to have so many wonderful experiences singing across the east coast for more than 20 years in different bands. When I moved back home to Floyd with my husband and children, both of my son’s had the privilege of being taught by Mrs. Smith in school. Her musical influence on my family has been a true treasure. She is the most humble, selfless, amazing person I have ever known and I am honored to call her my friend.
Joe Austin-Class of 1979
Mrs. Smith was truly an inspiration to me as my elementary music teacher and later my high school choral teacher. It’s because of her that I’m a music teacher today.
She was always kind, interested in her students, but more importantly saw “potential” in each student. I always loved music from an early age and could “hear” the parts naturally when singing so music always came very easy to me. Her classes were one of the highlights of my school day.
She encouraged me to try out for district chorus in high school and I never thought I’d have a chance at making it, but made it every year. At districts is where you auditioned for All-State. She again encouraged me to audition and I made those choirs as well. There was always a large group of students chosen from FCHS who attended these events. I still have my “vinyl” recordings for the concerts. I’ll never forget the experiences of singing with those large groups. And the places we got to go!!
During my senior year she asked me where I was going to college. I said I’m not going to college. We didn’t have the money, etc. She convinced me to go talk to Mrs. Albert in guidance and check on it. She said that I’d be a great music teacher. She saw something in me I didn’t see.
So after 5 years of college, commuting to VWCC and Radford University, today that’s where I am. I’ve taught middle and high school Band, Marching, and Jazz Band, high school Chorus and Madrigals, Music Appreciation, and elementary general music.
I think the greatest thing I learned from her was to see the potential in others and encourage them to pursue it. If it had not been for her encouraging me to pursue auditions and going to guidance, who knows what I would be doing.
It is always a joy to stop by and see her or visit with her at district events! Thanks to a wonderful teacher who made a life changing direction for me!
Melissa G. McDaniel, Ed.D.
Mrs. Smith was my music teacher from elementary to high school. Her class was always one of my favorites. Because being in high school chorus, I had the opportunity to participate in Regional, All-State, and Honors Choir. She exposed us to music that many of us would never have learned to appreciate without her influence.
I have always felt that Mrs. Smith made it her personal mission to help students expand their horizons by exposing students to a variety of musical styles. She exposed us to classical music from all periods, sacred music and even musical theatre. She has been responsible for bringing that culture to our county through her teaching in the public school, her work as a church musician, and her leadership in the community choir. I believe many people in our county have a love and apprecia tion for classical music because of Sandra Smith.
Personally, she was a great encourager when I decided to pursue a degree in music at Radford University. She had also encouraged me to pursue private voice lessons as a high school student to continue to hone that craft. She helped me pre pare for my auditions and of course provided much encouragement along the way. I earned my degree in Music Therapy and feel that I would never have chosen that major if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Smith.
Even after I completed my degree she continued to be in my life as she was the organist for my wedding. I also have had the opportunity to work with her when I changed careers and began teaching at FCHS. She even taught both of my children when they took chorus at FCHS. Over the past several years, she has asked me to judge auditions for a variety of events and I am always happy to get to see her. I am in awe of her many years of devotion to the students of Floyd County. She is still as passionate about bringing culture and an appreciation for music to the lives of young people as she was 50 years ago. She will forever be one of my favorite people!
Melissa G. McDaniel, Ed.D.
Miss Rector came to Floyd County High School when I was in the 8th grade. She fostered my talents, taking me to various choral clinics, regional and state chorus. The time she gave to opening her student’s eyes to the world of choral music and all music influenced my decision to become a music educator. I followed Mrs. Smith’s example when I became a teacher. In my 37 years of teaching I followed her example taking students to competitions, choral clinics, and state chorus. Thank you Mrs. Smith for your influence on this country girl.