SAN ANTONIO -- In the middle of O'Connor High School orchestra practice, we stopped the music to surprise orchestra director Brenda Johnson with our KENS 5 SACU ExCEL Award for the Northside Independent School District.
She shouldn't have been so astonished. For 16 years, in both middle and high school, Johnson's been instrumental in changing lives.
"I had a lot of confidence issues in middle school, and Ms. Johnson really helped me. She made me feel like I could be the best possible player I could be, and I'm very thankful for that. I can only get better, and I feel great about myself doing it," said junior Ella Fotinos.
Johnson uses her passion for music to inspire her students to excel in orchestra and in school.
"I want to build confidence. A lot of kids come in thinking, 'I can't carry a tune' or 'I can't read notes.' I take those kids from the very start, and a lot of them are able to blossom as musicians. When I started music, I did it for the love of music and love of my violin. I started getting a lot of encouragement from my professors about becoming a music teacher because they thought I had a lot of talent in my instrument and the right kind of personality to be a teacher," said Johnson.
"She still is my most favorite teacher of all the years I've been in high school and middle school. She taught me to be more out there how to play amazing and I'm in first violin. I used to be in second but now I'm in first ," said senior Nathaniel Villarreal.
"My goal for them is to do the best they can and build their confidence as students and musicians and to love music," said Johnson.
Because of Brenda Johnson, it's a love likely to last a lifetime.
(© 2016 KENS)