Rosthern music educator humbled with two awards in single school year

The Saskatchewan Band Association’s Trisha McEwen presents Kayleigh Skomorowski with the Distinguished Band Director award on June 22, 2023. -- RJC High School/Facebook

A Rosthern music educator says receiving two awards in this past school year is validation that she’s on the right path.

Kayleigh Skomorowski received the Outstanding Educators Award from the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association in November. Then, last month, the Saskatchewan Band Association awarded her the Distinguished Band Director award.

Skomorowski worked at St. Mary’s High School in Prince Albert prior to accepting the position at RJC High School last year. She also led the Prince Albert Concert Band.

“They’re two milestone, kind of career affirmations that both hit me at the same time,” she said.

“It helps me know that I’m in the right place and I’m heading in the right direction.”

Skomorowski runs the school-wide choir program, an extracurricular choir program, and the jazz and concert bands in Rosthern. She said the school had the appetite she was looking for in furthering the quality of music education for students.

Whether they choose to continue music or not, Skomorowski said its benefits will linger with them for years to come.

That’s what drives her.

“(It’s) giving students that safe haven where they can explore who they are in a way that you don’t have to worry about the risks that might come from other spaces in a high school setting,” she said.

“The ones that continue on, either studying music or just playing music for fun as friends or consider education, just seeing that trickle effect down the path of someone’s life is highly motivating.”

Trisha McEwen with the Saskatchewan Band Association presented Skomorowski with the Distinguished Band Director award at opening night of the school’s spring musical on June 22.

“It’s mainly my mentors that have been given that kind of a recognition, so to be where I’m at in my career and be given that kind of recognition from my peers and a provincial organization is exciting.”

The award recognizes a director “who has made significant contribution to band in Saskatchewan,” according to the association’s website. Provincial award recipients are selected from nominations.

“There’s a lot of people out there that have the ability to be a music director, but where I’d like to think I offer something different is just the sincere focus on the relationship with the kids,” said Skomorowski.

“It’s a lifelong continuum, and really making that the goal as opposed to just teaching a class.”

Skomorowski said she was drawn to teaching in Rosthern because of its rich history in the arts.

According to the RJC High School website, about 90 per cent of students participate in a broadway-style musical each year. Private music classes are also available on campus.