Moving America Forward

Every Disabled Kid Should Have a Music Teacher Like This

February 3, 2014
Every Disabled Kid Should Have a Music Teacher Like This
Ray Bouknight/Flickr
Kevin Smith's extraordinary efforts made it possible for one of his students to learn to play the flute.

Kevin Smith, a music teacher at Balwin, Mo. middle school, couldn’t bear the fact that one of his students, 12-year-old Melissa Henricks, wanted to learn to play the flute but was constrained by her disability. Henricks was born with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension and suffered from a form of cerebral palsy as a result of the bleeding on her brain.

But the young survivor has always had a passion for music, so Smith worked with the school district to make a flute for her that she could play with one hand, and he even spent his vacation developing a fingering chart that she could use to play it. “If someone is that determined, we want to help that passion, “said Kelly Mignerone, assistant principal at the school. But Smith went above and beyond, working with his wife to find a shop to build the special instrument in Texas. “It’s amazing how wonderful he could be to make this for me,” Henricks said. Every kid should be so lucky to have a teacher like Smith.