SAN ANTONIO — Meet Ms. Regina Kazmir. She teaches K-5th grade music classes.
“I grew up here in San Antonio, just right across the street from St. Mary's University. My dad is a musician. He became a Tejano musician so e's one of the original Royal Jesters. He's proud of that,” Kazmir continued with excitement. “I was born out of music.”
For as long as she can remember, music brought her joy but it was her childhood teachers – like her band director who shaped the music teacher she is today at Las Palmas Elementary and Leadership School for Girls.
“I'm marching in the parade in the Battle of Flowers parade, and he's marching alongside me so that I could find him,” Kazmir reminisced of her childhood in the 1980s. “My family couldn't afford to send me to private lessons. And so he dedicated his time to me after school.”
Today she is returning the favor to little girls who need a guiding hand, learning to navigate our world through music.
Edgewood ISD Superintendent Dr. Eduardo Hernandez says Kazmir is the perfect role model.
“When you have individuals, women of authority, such as Miss Kazmir, who teach young women that you can still do things like ballet, but you can still express yourself by using dance and using all these different methods to express what's inside," he said. "Not only does that support social-emotional development, but it also promotes healthy relationships between women.”
One of the many things the girls learn in Kazmir’s classes is how music transcends barriers and becomes a universal language. They connect their experiences with the different cultures and customs of the world.
“They're learning Germany, they learn a little German polka. If they're learning Italy, I teach them the Tarantella and then I dress them up in the little costumes, the traditional costume and some of the times we have to make the costumes,” she said.
At the end of each school year, they perform at the Parade of Nations showcasing their worldly dancing skills.
But that’s not at all. All throughout the year, the girls perform Ballet Folklorico at different San Antonio venues.
Ballet Folklorico is a staple at the school – thanks to Kazmir who brought the program to campus a decade ago.
“I want them to embrace their culture and know where they come from. They love putting on those beautiful costumes, and then I'll show them videos of girls from Mexico where the tradition started," she said. "And I said, 'Look. They have the same color of skin as we do. And they're dancing like we are. That's who we are, that's where we come from.'”
Teaching them team spirit and having pride in who they are – after all, she says, their successes become her successes and her biggest rewards.
“They all have one thing in common now. They all love to dance and they look out for each other. They call each other sisters,” Kazmir added. “It brings me joy to teach it. I just hope that music brings them joy.”