Choral Teacher, Jesse C. Carson High School, China Grove, NC
Bachelor of Music, UNC Charlotte (2003)
Hometown: Landis, NC
More than 200 students are involved in the choral program at Jesse C. Carson High School in China Grove, where Megan Wyatt has taught since 2009. The school’s Fine Arts Academy provides multiple opportunities for arts-based extracurricular activities, and Wyatt’s students have performed in high-profile settings regionally (such as performing the National Anthem at a Charlotte Hornets game) and even nationally (such as St. Malachy's Catholic Church in New York City or Pearl Harbor in Hawaii).
“These students are exceptionally talented and work hard to perfect their craft,” Wyatt says.
Wyatt prepares her students for the high school’s musical productions each year and also makes sure they experience other good performances: “Each year I make it my personal goal to take a group to see two or three musicals. They are able to make payments towards the cost of their ticket, which allows students with a struggling income to participate. I always enjoy seeing their reactions to watching something come to life on stage for the first time.”
Her dedication to her students led Carson High School to rally behind her and help her get named “Carolina Panthers Teacher of the Week” in 2014.
Wyatt says that when she first entered the Department of Music, she lacked a strong foundation and had to struggle to catch up.
“I remember crying every time I had a voice lesson because I was learning a new style of singing and didn't always get it right the first time. I struggled every day with taking initiative to study my part before entering Dr. Jeffrey Price's room. I remember him telling me that I had to sing like I shopped at Neiman Marcus, not Walmart. He pushed me harder than any other teacher I had. He was always positive and peppy, and it made me happy.”
“I remember when I had to complete my sophomore screening and I passed the piano proficiency with flying colors, but failed the minor melody sight singing part. I was crushed. I screened again my junior year and failed once more. So, Dr. Price suggested that I go to each professor to practice with them and get their help. They saw my dedication and seemed so proud of me. When I walked into the screening room, they all made me feel comfortable and I knew they were pulling for me. Needless to say, I passed and was able to proceed with my senior recital.”
Wyatt says that her years at UNC Charlotte taught her independence and determination.
“I worked so hard to become my very best musical self during my time at UNC Charlotte. I sat at the very front of the room and probably asked the same question a million times. But I learned it and I learned it well.”
“It was the best time of my life. I loved that my department was small and like a family. I loved that my professors greeted me daily and knew my name. I loved that so much was expected of me and my teachers pushed me to be the best. I loved that they cared enough to give me extra help and watched me succeed.”