"Watching Weber State students win two out of three top prizes in a recent statewide piano competition, I had to hold back my tears because they played so well. I thought about how most people would never know how much effort it took to craft every single note — and there were thousands — to perfection.

"Many nights after teaching my regular classes, I continued to work with these students until almost midnight. After the competition, I was exhausted, but thrilled.

"I often think of a card given to me by a graduating student. It reads, 'A great teacher provides the tools to make dreams become reality.' That means a lot to me. I feel that my personal connection to my students will last a lifetime."