WEST JORDAN Stop at West Jordan High at 6:15 a.m., and you'll find Chelle Leyva, selecting new music for her students.
Drop by again at 3:30, and she's practicing with the marching band.
That classroom light on at 8 p.m.? Probably Leyva's.
Even weekends can't pull the 10-year teacher from her Jaguar bands. In fact, the Jordan District Teacher of the Year estimates she logs 1,500 unpaid hours a year for them.
"Sometimes, they have to kick me out," Leyva said. "There's never an end to this job. There's always something more that can be done."
Oddly, teaching music was the last thing the flute player wanted to do when she entered college. She thought she simply didn't have the time.
But that concern faded after working with bands and marching with musicians at University of Louisville and Southern Utah University.
"Some performances . . . are an out-
of-body experience almost. Music moves you so much. I wanted to share that."
Leyva has spent her career at West Jordan, leading the marching band, bell choirs, symphonic, pep and concert bands. Sometimes she receives a hand from her husband, Joe Leyva, a West Jordan Middle School choir teacher.
"The kids, No. 1, like her as a person. But at the same time, she gets them to produce. They put out a wonderful product," said principal Emerson Boyd. "And parent support for Chelle is phenomenal."
Her students have been honored in competitions including the Holiday Bowl Grand Championship parade. They almost always receive a scholarship or stipend for college."That's probably my proudest moment every year, looking at these students going on to college and continuing on in musical endeavors, seeing the progress they made," she said. "It makes me feel good to know I'm making a difference."
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