January 27, 2014
Updated Jan 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM EST
Westfield, N.Y. (WKBW) - Local music teacher Kent Knappenberger took home the gold at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
“The Executive Director of the Grammy's called me. To be honest I cried. It was overwhelming,” Knappenberger said.
He was recognized at the awards ceremony by some big names including Ryan Seacrest, Steven Spielberg and John Legend. Current and former students nominated Knappenberger. He then had to send out an application and video of his work.
“I got these emails that I was nominated by kids I taught even people that graduated,” Knappenberger said.
He was chosen from more than 30,000 nominees and nine finalists. Knappenberger received $10,000 and A-list treatment in Los Angeles for Grammy week. He said it was the chance of a lifetime and also very humbling.
“I worked with a lot of very talented people and got to know some very talented educators throughout the United States. I just really like to live up to their expectations. I'm proud to represent my school district and my profession. I'm proud to be a music teacher,” Knappenberger said.
Knappenberger said it is not only about the honor. He said it supports music in schools, something his school district has already embraced.
“Our school sees who is involved and what it can do for kids. They have been behind it as much as they can be considering the economics of our age right now,” Knappenberger said.
As far as the trophy, he said it is all about his students.
“First I want to take it to school and I want kids to see it, pick it up and let them know that without them I wouldn't be here. It's a two ways street,” Knappenberger said.