, Muskogee, OK

May 25, 2013

MHS teachers feted before commencement

Student council president is host of traditional annual gathering

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Piano teacher Suzanne Barns recalls watching Danielle Wright grow in skill over the past 10 years.

“She’s just a natural musician. I just guided her,” Barns said. “She’s got the music in her.”

Friday night before the Muskogee High School commencement ceremony, Wright could well have sung the praises of Barns and other teachers in her life.

Wright, president of the MHS Student Council, held a reception for her teachers. She followed an MHS graduation night tradition that began several years ago.

Teachers from Wright’s childhood through high school embraced her and presented her with congratulatory cards. Some of those cards had cash.

Wright said each teacher at the reception “kept encouraging me to keep going.”

“They kept me encouraged,” she said.

She recalled learning music under Barns’ teaching.

“She is the greatest piano teacher, the greatest person to know,” Wright said. “She’s very fun, very encouraging.”

Wright was a third-grader at Cherokee Elementary School when Laura Wade was her teacher.

Wade, now retired, recalled Wright as “very smart and kind of shy.”

She recalled how sharp the girl was in vocabulary competitions.

“We had to learn vocabulary, and we had to play Mrs. Roberts’ class,” Wade recalled. “The class Danielle was in always beat Mrs. Roberts’ class.”

Choir teacher Shelly Beck recalled Wright’s dedication over the past six years. She said Wright was a “fabulous jazz player.”

“She won the eighth-grade talent show,” Beck said. “Every time I asked her to do a musical opportunity, she always said yes. She never said no. And I will greatly miss her.”

Wright said she plans to attend Langston University and major in chemistry. She said she also intends to play piano in Langston’s jazz band.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or