Keep Ms. Moretti at Hermitage!

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My name is Annalisa Seibert. I've lived in Henrico almost all my life, and 3 years ago, I found my calling- Choir. I joined the Hermitage High School Mixed Chorus my freshman year in 2015, and fell in love with music. In the beginning of my sophomore year, when I had just gotten into the Chamber Singers group of the school, our choir teacher left us for a better job opportunity. We tried everything: petitions, emails to the school, fundraisers... we begged for the school to listen to our plea. We had all grown together with that teacher and felt we couldn't continue without him.

But no one listened.

We were literally without a teacher for months. How can teenagers be expected to teach themselves?! It was so frustrating. Then, entered Danielle Moretti. The kindest, smartest, most caring woman I have ever met. She didn't force us to like her. She let us grow with her, and we sure as hell did. She showed us that in order to succeed, you must first help others succeed. When myself or others were having issues, whether it be academic, family, home, relationship... anything, she was always there for us. Always. she drove me home from school once when I'd had a breakdown. She gave students rides to performances. She helped pay fees. She is the glue that holds us together as a family. And above all, she is the best music teacher any of us has known. She knows exactly what she's doing, and she does it amazingly. 3 years ago I didn't even know what "Soprano" or "Alto" even meant. Today, I can read sheet music, write my own, and match just about any pitch. I never knew what I was capable of before Ms. Moretti came into our lives.

However, today, May 22nd, 2018 (in the middle of SOL week), the school told Ms. Moretti that she will no longer be a teacher here next school year. Apparently, there is a teacher from another school who was a full-time choir instructor, but her position was knocked down to part time. Therefore, they are replacing Ms. Moretti with this teacher, claiming she is more qualified because our current teacher has less experience. Ms. Moretti was a singer in this group when she was in High School, she has a college degree in this matter, and she's shown the school she's capable of preparing students for a concert, with brand new music, mind you, within around a month. We have all finally become confident, skilled performers, and now the school system wants to rip away our binding force... Again.

It seems that Henrico County Public Schools has no compassion for its students. We are just numbers. Teachers are just numbers. Everyone is replaceable. I have witnessed, countless times, how the school gives more and more money and funding and perks and new uniforms to the Football team, and I get it, they make money. Hermitage is the "football school." But how can we show our potential, when the school gives us nothing to grow with?! We basically get no funding, whatsoever. We don't get new, free choral attire every year. We don't get free sheet music. We don't get our concerts and events advertised across the district. What did we do to deserve this?

Ms. Moretti has a family. She has a daughter to support. She has her own struggles with finance and home. But it seems that HCPS couldn't care less. As I said before, we are just numbers.

Is there anything you can do to help us keep the music alive? We can't keep getting switched around from teacher to teacher. Music is not like an academic, where a substitute can come in and finish a lesson plan. Every choir director has a different way of teaching, and when you change that around, especially more than once, it destroys the confidence and potential a student has.

We are desperate. No one will listen or help us. We are not just a class on a schedule. Choir is FAMILY. Music is a reason to keep going when there is nothing left to go for. Please help us. We need someone to care.

I hope you'll take helping us into consideration.

Thank you.

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