It was a night that really captured the moment of 36 years of teaching music: Past and present students of Seth Gardner came out to recall stories of a man that inspired them.
The cafeteria of the newly renovated middle school was decorated, with food and drinks served, especially a cake in honor of Gardner. Written on a very long piece of paper that was decorated as a sheet of music had a message that read, “Thank You Mr. Gardner.” Many people signed it and expressed their feelings and well wishes to the beloved teacher.
“This is a wonderful night and I didn’t expect anyone to come,” Gardner said with a laugh to the Haverford-Havertown Patch. “This means a lot to me.”
He said that it felt as if it was a normal summer for him, except for the amount of paperwork that he has to fill out since he is retiring.
“It won’t hit me (that I’m retired) until the fall,” he told a student who came up to him.
And there were many students who came to greet, hug or shake his hand throughout the night. People who were students of Gardner’s from as far as back as the 1990s to as recent as this school year came out to express their admiration for the teacher who taught them music.
It is a weekday night during the summer and people of all ages came out to be with Gardner, expressed Douglas Siegel, son of 4th Ward commissioner Dan Siegel.
At one point past students came up to the microphone to thank Gardner for pushing them to become better singers and musicians. In fact, his sister Barbara Gardner-Heller shared some fond memories of her little brother, particularly when he was 2 years old and would hold his hands over his ears if someone sang off key during church services.
And in a fitting tribute that captured his many years at the Haverford School District, Gardner, for the last time, conducted his students as they sang Kenya Melodies.
Come back to the Haverford-Havertown Patch for a special photo gallery and a small feature interview with Gardner. For story updates, be sure to like the Haverford-Havertown Patch’s Facebook page, or follow the news site’s Twitter account, or sign up for the newsletter.