"When I was in the 5th grade, I joined the band, loved it, loved it. I knew before 5th grade I would teach, but when I got into band I knew what I was going to teach," she says.
She took that love for music and became an all-state band student. She earned a music scholarship to the University of South Carolina. Now she helps students excel in music and other areas.
"To read music, you have to get better at reading your notes and your rhythms which bring the language arts and the math into it," she says. "And they become stronger in their academics by being in band."
They also become more confident.
"I teach them to truly enjoy what they do and they want to perform in front of people, they're not afraid of it, they love to show off. They love to show what they've learned."
Bonnie McNeill has spent her life focused on teaching. Now her students are gaining life skills from her.
"It feels absolutely wonderful and I hope they will provide these opportunities for their kids. Because when I'm in the nursing home and they come to visit me, I want their kids to come sing Jingle Bells in Spanish for me."
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