BY: SARAH GOVERT
Mr. Yasick—Cary High’s outstanding chorus teacher, the “godfather of the fine arts department” in the words of Mr. Bryant, and now the NCMEA Choral Teacher of the Year. Mr. Yasick was recognized for this well-deserved honor at the Honors Chorus performance in Winston-Salem last Sunday, November 10th. The Teacher of the Year award has been given prior to the performance each year since 2001, making, Mr. Yasick the 19th recipient.
A great deal of work went into the consideration of Mr. Yasick for the Teacher of the Year award. The process starts with a nomination by another choral director in the state of North Carolina. The criteria for a nominee includes: being an active member of NCMEA and teaching in North Carolina for at least five years. In addition to these qualifications, a letter of recommendation citing the merits of the candidate must be submitted by the nominator, and the nominee must send in an updated resume, including their philosophy of teaching. Following this process, five or six choral directors are nominated for the final vote, which takes place at All-State in April. The voting body includes the high school choral teachers in the state of North Carolina.
Mr. Yasick met all the criteria. He was a member of the board from 2006-2018, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award during his last year on the board. He first became involved with NCMEA when former Enloe High School Choral teacher Anne Huff asked him if he wanted to become the Choral Activities Chair. From this position, he went on to become the Chair of the Board of NCMEA for two years. In addition to being involved with NCMEA, Mr. Yasick has been teaching at Cary High for 24 years, helping the choral program grow from 33 to 200 students. When asked how the arts department has evolved during his time here, he responded, “The program was nowhere near as big as it is now. I mean, we never did Galas and all the stuff that we do now together with the band and orchestra and having the art people in the same building and everything else.” He has helped transform the Cary High School arts department throughout the past 24 years.
When asked what this award means to him, Mr. Yasick smiled and said, “It’s just a real honor. I mean, it’s such an honor, and it’s really nice to be recognized by your peers across the state that know the work that you do and be able to give you an award that recognizes people who made a difference in choral music in North Carolina.” To celebrate Mr. Yasick earning this well-deserved award, Mrs. McCormick gathered a group of about 50 people to surprise him in Winston-Salem last Sunday. They sat out of sight in the last three rows of the Stevens Center, making themselves known by screaming and clapping when Mr. Yasick’s name was announced. That was not the only surprise. On Wednesday morning the second period performing arts students had the chance to celebrate Mr. Yasick on his way to class—rolling out the red carpet and showering confetti on his head while he walked down the hall to the chorus room.
Cary High is lucky to have the newest NCMEA Choral Teacher of the Year producing and inspiring generations of talented musicians. This honor is truly well-deserved, and we are so proud of Mr. Yasick and the work that he has done and continues to do for all of his 200 students and counting.