MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- He is the head of the class and the leader of the band; and he has been for 41 years now.
Mr. Doug Akey is the veteran music teacher at the Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies. He estimates he has taught more than 12,000 students.
Besides teaching melody and measures, Mr. Akey also shows his students how to handle the sour notes in life. He believes learning to play an instrument and play in an orchestra with other students offers many opportunities to teach his students life lessons.
"In the end what we teach here has less to do with music and more to do with how you set goals," explains Mr. Akey, "...and how do you achieve them, what kind of perseverance does it take to achieve those goals. Music is a great way to practice that skill for life."
Jack Glenny, an eighth grader who plays trombone in Mr. Akey's class, nominated his teacher for the Silver Apple Award.
[MORE: Silver Apple Award winners]
In his letter to the Selection Committee, he wrote, "Mr. Akey's class is different than any other classes. He doesn't treat us as kids, but adults, equals. He treats us with more respect than we deserve. He is a definite school-wide favorite, and loved by all students. He helps people that are in need and has a way of making class fun, but knows how to get stuff done. He is my favorite teacher by far which is the case with many students."
Humbled after hearing Jack read the letter, Mr. Akey told us, "It's a joy to work with these kids. I know what music did to my life and how it enriched it and continues to enrich it; and if i can give a little bit of that to the kids and make their lives a little bit richer because they've had that experience, then that's what makes it worth it to me."
[NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE TEACHER: Click here to download the nomination form]
Besides the Silver Apple Award, Mr. Akey also received $1000 from the Arizona Dairy Council. Heather Caballero from Caballero Dairy Farms presented the check to Mr. Akey in front of his class.
Caballero told Mr. Akey, "We value everything that you do and wanted to thank you and also congratulate you on winning the Silver Apple Award."
In addition to teaching 7th and 8th grade music, Mr. Akey also conducts the Tempe Symphony Orchestra. However, year after year, you will find this middle school maestro returning to the classroom, which he loves so much, and striking a chord with his students.
And on that note, we say thank you Mr. Akey!