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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Band teacher goodbyes

Long-time band director departs from Park
Jesse Belen
Former band teacher Steve Schmitz hugs student July 31. A going-away party was thrown for a beloved teacher.

After 12 years of teaching at St. Louis Park High School, four years at Park Spanish Immersion (PSI) and one year at Susan Lindgren, former band director Steve Schmitz splits from Park. To celebrate his dedication, the band family got together one last time to commemorate Schmitz.

Schmitz said that teaching at Park gave him the opportunity to inspire students and make memories.

“It’s been the honor of my life. Seeing dozens of students telling me that I influenced their lives and made it better means the world to me,” Schmitz said. “There’s been some tough times but I will remember all the amazing times, students, people that I met and colleagues that I worked with.”

According to incoming junior Julia Lorenzen, they felt valued in Schmitz’s classroom.

“He really values all of his students and never leaves anyone out,” Lorenzen said. “I always felt listened to and really cared for in his classes.” 

2023 Park graduate Amira Abdirahman said that Schmitz’s classroom was a cherished space due to his dedication to his students.

“Schmitz’s classroom was the safest space in the school for me,” Abdirahman said. “Witnessing his work as a teacher and the things that he does, not only in the classroom but the work that he does outside of the classroom to get to know and commit to his students has been amazing.”

He’s built up this community where he wants it to feel like a family and he’s a big part of that.”

— Julia Lorenzen

Lorenzen said she looks up to Schmitz due to his leadership characteristics and classroom motto.

“The motto of the band was ‘building excellence through music.’ He’s such a role model for everything,” Lorenzen said. “(Like) how to be a good person. I can just learn by example through him.” 

Schmitz said his classroom motto means more than learning music. He said that the message his motto spreads has stuck with his past students.

“(The motto) means that yes, we’re doing it through playing instruments and learning music, but we’re really about making people the very best versions of themselves,” Schmitz said. “It’s so cool to see kids and young adults who are 25 come back and say that it works.”

Lorenzen said the family aspect of the band program was heavily influenced by Schmitz.

“He’s built up this community where he wants it to feel like a family and he’s a big part of that,” Lorenzen said. “I have faith that the band will continue to be a family and still be a strong community without him but it will take some adjustment.”

Abdirahman said the lessons Schmitz developed in the classroom will carry on through generations in the Park band program. 

“He’s been a pillar of this program and community for so long. The lessons that he taught us will live with us forever,” Abdirahman said. “What he’s taught students will definitely live on and be passed down no matter who’s replacing him.”

According to Schmitz, he is pursuing a new career in music at FAIR High School. 

“I’m still a teacher, technically, but more teaching adults. It’s called the teacher on special assignment arts coordinators. I’ll be at FAIR High School in Minneapolis,” Schmitz said. “Just making sure that arts are in every subject because that’s their mission and some professional development and mentoring some younger teachers.”

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About the Contributors
Alicia Mainjeni, Managing Editor
Hey y’all!! My name is Alicia and I am one of three peachy Managing Editors for Echo :). I am a junior and this is my third year as a staffer. In my free time you can find me making jewelry, running around on stage, being an academic homework nerd or laughing until I cry. I am so excited to contribute to this wonderful paper for yet another year. I can't wait to center student voice and inform students about topics that involve them.
Jesse Belen, Copy Editor
Hey everyone!! My name is Jesse. I’m a sophomore and a copy editor for Echo. I love to play as a goalkeeper for soccer so you can usually find me on the field but when I’m not playing I’m most often cozying up in a bunch of blankets reading a book or watching Gilmore Girls. I am so excited to continue my time in Echo!!! 

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