Two Lowcountry music teachers named finalists for Grammy Award

Two Lowcountry music teachers named finalists for Grammy Award

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Robin Rogers of the Charleston School of the Arts and William Bennett of Cane Bay High School have made the quarterfinals of the Grammy Music Educator Award.

More than 7,000 nominees were recently cut down to 222 quarter finalists. Rogers and Bennett are the only two teachers from South Carolina left in the competition.

"It's very rewarding because you find out exactly what, you know, kids and parents think of you and your teaching and how you've taken a part of their life and help mold that," Rogers said.

"When you apply for these things you never know, you just kind of throw your name in the hat and say let's see what happens so to be selected to quarterfinals is certainly a huge honor," Bennett said.

The two teachers came to music in different ways.

“I have always wanted to be a music teacher,” Rogers said. “Since the age of four, I always played piano and everything and that was my lifetime dream.”

Rogers has been a music teacher for 34 years, spending the last 18 at Charleston School of the Arts.

Bennett didn’t begin singing until sophomore year of high school, and was more interested in basketball as a kid. He’s been a teacher for eight years, and with Cane Bay for the last six. He uses his sports background to help him teach.

"I really approach this more as a coach and more as if I was running a team, and so we do a lot of team building stuff within our program,” Bennett said. “We talk a lot about being responsible to the group as a whole, a lot of self-discipline stuff."

Bennett says when he started at Cane Bay, the school was brand new with only 43 students. Now, he has 149 students and has seen the program win multiple awards.

"This was kid of the goal to have a program of this caliber, to be getting superior ratings, and to be competing in state,” Bennett said. “There were many times when I thought that may never happen.”

This is the second year the award has been given by the Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation. The next cut in the competition from quarter-finalists to semi-finalists will be in September, and the winner will receive 10-thousand dollars.

The award is for any teacher from kindergarten through college and nominations for next year's award are already open.

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