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N.C. man named choral director at Waynesboro High

November 21, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Gerald Kowallis, who's retiring in January after 38 years as a music teacher and choir director in Waynesboro Area Senior High School, has some advice for his successor, 24-year-old Eric M. Griffith of Fayetteville, N.C.

"He's inheriting a good program," Kowallis said. "I would tell him that I hope he would continue our well-established traditions."

Kowallis announced his retirement in June after a 44-year career, including six years at a high school in Indiana County, Pa., before he came to Waynesboro in 1964. He said he stayed all these years "because I realized I loved what I was doing, you know, the kind where you knew without a shadow of a doubt that you did the right thing by staying."

Griffith graduated from college a year ago and has been teaching music in public schools since January.

Waynesboro school district administrators saw something in Griffith because he was selected over a field of 16 applicants for the job, School Board President Larry Glenn said Wednesday. "We hired him last night," Glenn said.

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Griffith said from his home in Fayetteville, N.C., he is honored to be chosen to fill Kowallis' shoes.

"He's had an excellent program. I didn't know him personally but my choir director in high school did. She told me about the job in Waynesboro."

Griffith grew up in Lititz in Lancaster County, Pa., and graduated from Warwick High School there. He earned his bachelor's degree in music education from Slippery Rock University near Pittsburgh last year.

He was hired as choir director in January at the Reid Ross Classical School, a 6-12 school in Fayetteville, N.C. He teaches music in all grades, he said.

He said he applied for the Waynesboro job because "it sounds like a place where I can grow professionally."

He said he has been trying to learn about the program at Waynesboro ever since he was offered the job last week.

Griffith begins his new duties Jan. 2.

Kowallis officially retired at the end of the 2001-02 school year in June, but agreed to stay on until his replacement was hired.

Kowallis said in June when he announced his retirement that his proudest achievement over the years was his ability to achieve extraordinary results with ordinary students.

He directs the boys and girls glee clubs, and the school's show choir. At one time, he directed student plays, all musicals. He eventually cut back to just doing the music for the plays.

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