For her outstanding contributions as a Elementary/Secondary Vocal Music teacher, Polly is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Tom Lovitt of Kirkland, Washington and June Collins of Emporia, Kansas.
According to Tom:
Polly was a vocal music teacher; she also taught instrumental music at a few schools. Additionally, she taught a special education class for one year at an elementary school, a class for behaviorally disturbed children. She taught in Washington for several years. Besides that she taught elementary school music in Shawnee Mission, Kansas for one year. It should be mentioned that before those contract-teaching assignments, Polly was a substitute music teacher in Denver, Colorado schools from 1953 to 1956. As for her education , she had a BA in music education for the University of Kansas in 1952 and a MA degree in special education for that university in 1966.
Before commenting on Polly’s abilities as a music teacher it is important to note that she was an excellent musician. As an undergraduate at the University as a music teacher it is important to note that she was an excellent musician. As an undergraduate at the University of Kansas she studied with excellent vocal instructors. she had a beautiful contralto voice. She sang solos for several occasions, was involved in a number of musical performances, and was a member of the top choral group at the university. In addition, Polly was a versatile pianist. She was an excellent accompanist and an accomplished soloist. Polly also played violin, organ, and guitar reasonably well.
Polly had attended recital and concerts of some of the world’s greatest soloists and orchestras. As an attendee of the President’s Piano Series at the University of Washington for several years she has listened to most of the world-class pianists. She attended concerts of several outstanding symphony orchestras: Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Seattle, and London. The skills and experiences as a musician served her well as a teacher.
With respect to her teaching, Polly saw to it that her students learned about music and enjoyed it. She was unique and creative when it came to writing musical presentations for her schools. She didn’t rely on “canned” music programs and are today so prevalent. She put together some sensational performances. The following is a note from one of her former students: “Mrs. Lovitt was my favorite music teacher at Parkwood Elementary and Cordell Hull Middle School. Her original arrangements, skits and plays were always the highlight of the music season at both schools.” Polly was given a Golden Acorn award at Parkwood for her service there and was equally respected at her other schools.
As an instrumental music teacher Polly was an excellent arranger. She could patch together a first-rate program with a diverse assortment of instruments (e.g. tuba, viola, alto sax); that is, whoever and whatever showed up. She knew the keys, ranges, and capabilities of all the instruments, and the abilities of her students.
It is important to note that Polly was exceptionally good with middle school youngsters, an age that most folks can’t stand. Many of the 13 and 14 year old girls saw her as a surrogate mother.
Polly passed on her skills as a teacher to several student teachers. Following is a note from one: “What an incredible person and mentor she was for me in my music and teaching career…I feel her presence everyday as I stand in front of 46 five year olds or sing a fun and silly song. I enjoyed our lunch together so much a year ago and telling her in person how much she meant to me…Polly showed interest in everyone and (was) a great listener.”
After Polly’s retirement from teaching she became the choir director and part-time organist with her church. She was devoted to the church and their music program and was especially adept at arranging music for choir members with a range of abilities, just as she was with her elementary instrumental pupils. Following is a quote from a member: “She was such a pillar of my daily activity-with the absolute certainty that Polly would do everything necessary to have a presentable, professional choir performance-this whether 9 or 2 in the choir!…I have never been around a more accomplished versatile musician-uncanny in hearing a week part and stepping in as necessary.