A Celebration of Music Education at PV

By Sofia Papadopoulos and Angelica Bentancourt


Photo By: Angelica Bentancourt The Pascack Hills and Valley choirs singing together in honor of Argine Safari.

A Celebration of Music Education was held in honor of New Jersey Teacher of the Year, Argine Safari. This event was held at Valley to not only honor Safari, but the music department’s work within district.

With around 80 people in audience, the night started with a small concert filled with many beloved songs, performed by both Hills and Valley students. This was followed by various speeches thanking Safari for the work she has done in district and illustrating the importance of music in student’s lives.

Vice president of the Pascack Valley Regional Teaching Association (PVREA), Kaitlyn Mahaffey, said, “Ms. Safari was just recently awarded New Jersey State Teacher of the Year and to have something, an accomplishment like that, in our district, we felt that it would be something that you clearly needed to celebrate. So, we played around with a couple ideas, and since Ms. Safari is a music teacher, we decided to do a Celebration of Music Education.”

The dedication of this program to Safari comes at no surprise to district students. Emily Moriarty, current Pascack Valley student, said, “Whether you are in the choir room or [in the halls], she is always there to help you through anything, even if it is not music related. The way she teaches music too, she makes us push ourselves to the limit, and sometimes it feels like she’s pushing us too far, but she is doing the best for us.”

Not only do music teachers feel the need to honor Safari at this night, but all teachers. Pascack Hills math teacher, Kevin Killian, said, “I can just tell by the way she has changed the music program, both the music programs at Pascack Valley [and Hills]. The kids have an air of professionalism and confidence, just because they feel the certain way that she trains them. If you ever want to go to their performances you will just see how she gets the best out of them.”

This event comes at a time where Arts education funding is continually cut country wide. Safari said, “In these difficult times when the budgets for the Arts are being cut, it is extremely important to recognize the value of what we do and why it is important for our children’s future. The event also put our district on map as a place where the Arts are valued and nurtured.”

Pascack Valley student Carleigh Boyle said, “She just gives such a positive energy to music learning and really pushes us to our limit, which is a really good thing to have in a teacher because it increases the positivity, rounds you and makes you a better musician at the same time.”

Safari said, “It is a rare and unique opportunity to be a part of such an amazing event, much less to be honored in such a way. I feel blessed to be a part of this community and cannot thank enough our Superintendent, Erik Gundersen, our Board of Education and our school administration for supporting this initiative. More importantly, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the PVREA members, especially the President Deb Horn, the Vice President Kaitlyn Mahaffey, Maria Hinrichsen, Teri DelGuidice and many, many of my colleagues, for putting endless hours and organizing this night, making it such a success. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who came and supported Music Education in our district.”