LANCASTER, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Lancaster High School music teacher is in the running to take home the 2020 GRAMMY Music Educator Award.
Lynne Ruda is one of 10 finalists for the honor, which "recognizes teachers who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools." More than 3,300 educators nationwide were nominated for this year's award, but just one in Western New York made it as a finalist.
7 Eyewitness News talked with Ruda in her classroom Tuesday where she was working with the high school's string orchestra.
"Right from the top...two...three...four," stated Ruda, conducting the orchestra.
Ruda smiles and laughs as she conducts, seeking precision from students playing their instruments.
"I think every student has music in them – whether it’s them performing or whether it’s them listening to music or going to concerts – all of that just builds a community of music." Ruda explained.
Ruda telling us she is "overwhelmed" and "humbled" to be nominated.
"It is overwhelming and humbling to know that what i do here is impactful enough to be considered among the elite," Ruda described.
Ruda was nominated by a former student for the Grammy's Music Educator award. Ruda says she works to create a sense community in and out of the classroom.
"We are collaborating with Buffalo String Works this year – working with refugee children – so i think finding those opportunities where my students can see music makes a difference in lives, makes them want to continue and makes this program really special," said Ruda.
Lancaster High School principal Cesar Marchioli says the school's orchestra program has expanded under Ruda's leadership.
"Her commitment and dedication to kids is unquestioned by anyone – I mean she is here all the time doing so many things. She's also our senior class adviser. She’s just very a committed teacher to students and students know it," remarked Marchioli. "It’s about the work and the work she does with students. It’s incredible."
Ruda, a 2004 graduate of Lancaster High School, conducts both Lancater High School Symphony Orchestra and String Orchestra at her Alma mater.
The Grammy Music Education Coalition says 3.8 million students in the United States have no access to music education.
Ruda says students in Lancaster are fortunate to have the district's support.
“I know that music is such an important part of my students lives. It gives them an outlet to be creative, it gives them an outlet to be expressive. It gives them a little bit of a moment in their day to be themselves, so I just encourage every administrator to really fight for their music programs,” Ruda noted.
Lancaster senior Genevieve Fontana plays the cello and wants to study music therapy.
“Does she inspire you?”, Buckley asked. “Yes! All the time, not just in music, she’s just like a great female role model in my life,” declared Fontana. “Mrs. Ruda is really amazing…she’s so passionate about her job, so it’s not a surprise that she got nominated.”
Ruda is just one of ten educators nationwide to be nominated for the Grammy Educator Award.
Ruda said she has no idea when a winner will be announced.
“I know everyone is already asking – like what are you going to wear – what will you,” Ruda said.
Beyond the classroom, Ruda is an active member in her community. She a volunteer firefighter for the Village of Lancaster and serves as a Trustee for the Village of Lancaster and is the Director of Economic Development. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Lancaster Opera House.
The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to attend GRAMMY Week festivities including the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards on January 26. The nine other finalists will receive $1,000. The schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.