Kevin Hrycay hits the right notes with his students and their parents. They chimed in with 30,000 votes, placing the Scarborough music teacher in first place in a nation-wide teachers’ competition.
“There were parents who literally had giant group address books, so they would send out every day a hundred or two hundred emails,” Hrycay said.
“I just can’t thank them enough. It obviously wouldn’t have happened without them, and I never thought I’d get over 30,000 (votes).”
Hrycay, who teaches at Birch Cliff Heights Public School and Chine Drive Public School, came in first in Canadian Family magazine’s Great Teacher Awards competition. The magazine held an online vote to select the top three teachers from 13 semi-finalists.
The winners receive $2,500 each to use toward programming and supplies for their schools.
Hrycay said he’ll use the money to buy music stands and perhaps some instruments such as trumpets, flutes and clarinets.
The Guildwood resident volunteers more than 400 hours a year, mentoring teachers, fixing equipment and working with students on extracurricular activities.
When he taught at Cosburn Middle School, Hrycay created an extracurricular music program that attracted 300 students.
Hrycay, who has been teaching for 18 years, received a total of 30,026 votes. Ramy Melhem, a Grade 3 teacher in Edmonton, came in second with 29,951 votes. Peterborough kindergarten teacher Janet Shillinglaw was in third place with 29,374 votes.
The voting took place between May 17 and June 30.
Hrycay noted he treats his students like adults and tries to give them the confidence to succeed. “But the biggest thing is being there for them, listening to them,” he added.