Throughout her 20+ years of conducting the orchestra program in the elementary, middle, and high school, Mrs. Cathy Clark has played an instrumental role in building up the Eastern Christian Music Department to what it is today.
In the midst of this year full of unprecedented change, the three music ensembles have been unable to meet. This means many students are currently missing a familiar face: Mrs. Clark.
During her time at Eastern Christian, Mrs. Clark has helped the music department gain respect in the school community as well as from other schools. The most recent time the high school orchestra competed at Music in the Parks, a competition at Six Flags in South Jersey, the group won a superior music award, scoring a program-high score.
Mrs. Clark’s dedication to the music program at Eastern Christian extended not only from the high school program, middle school orchestra, and second through fourth grade violin lessons, but to each individual student's lives she touched.
The full scale of Mrs. Clark’s devotion to her students and to the music program is exhibited by the respect she earned from her students as well as fellow faculty members.
Senior Erina Lee recounts her fondest memories of Mrs. Clark, remarking that she had been under her guidance for ten years.
When asked to describe Mrs. Clark in one word, she replied: “I choose the word ‘heart’ because before concerts, she would feed us dinner, and dessert, and often it would be homemade. Even when she was going through a hard time herself, she offered us herself as someone who would listen to our hardship, someone who we could rely on, and someone who would pray for us.”
Erina adds that in addition to teaching music to her students, she also taught other important lessons, some of which are of strength, perseverance, and humility. Mrs. Clark was known to never give up on her students, even while going through periods of trials and tribulations. Her dedication to her students was unwavering, committing her care and attention to her orchestra year after year.
Senior Eric Lee, when asked about his favorite memories of Mrs. Clark recalls the sectionals in middle school where only the cellists would practice together, learning their music in a small group with Mrs. Clark’s undivided attention.
Looking back on his six years of knowing her, Eric states that if he had to choose one word to describe her, he would choose the word ‘warrior’.
“After all she had to go through the past couple of years, she fought through hard. She pushed through all the struggles and it was amazing when she was able to conduct for our concert.”
As a true testament to the care she held for each student, Eric adds that “No matter how long you've been taught by Mrs. Clark, her love is unquestionable. For the 6 years I've been taught by her, I've always felt the passion and love she has for the students, the orchestra, music, her family, and most importantly God.”
These student responses bear witness to the influence Mrs. Clark has had on the lives of the students she conducted, both inside and outside of the music room. Her patience, devotion, and love for her students reaches far beyond that of a regular classroom, acting as the glue that held together the family that orchestra had become.
Mrs. Clark will forever hold a place in the development of the Eastern Christian music department as well as in the hearts of each taught. Without a doubt, Mrs. Clark will be missed dearly in the Eastern Christian music community.
As a final remark to her students, Mrs. Clark shares that “Our ensemble, whether you were with me for one year or fourteen years, gave the unique opportunity to be a part of a family and as a family, I love all of you and that does not end when you walk out of my class.”