Educator has a song in her heart
By LESLIE MIELKE
BLACKFOOT – Blackfoot native Trina Hawker is one positive and enthusiastic teacher. She teaches choir at Mountain View Middle School (MVMS) and Blackfoot Sixth Grade School.
“I absolutely love my job,” Hawker said. “I love being a choir teacher.
“My mom said I was singing as soon as I could speak,” she said. “I am the oldest of six and our parents put all of us in piano lessons.
“When I was in middle school, my choir teacher was Darrell Anderson,” Hawker said. “He is who I replaced when I started teaching at MVMS; I’m now teaching the children of the people with whom I was in high school.
“In high school, my choir teacher was Susan Mann,” she said. “She’s an amazing choir teacher.
“She let me be her assistant; I led the women’s choir,” Hawker said. “She really inspired me to be a choir teacher.”
After graduating from Blackfoot High School, Hawker attended Ricks College for two years, then completed her bachelor’s at Utah State in Logan with a major in music education.
“I sang in all the college choirs,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Her first teaching job was at Bonneville High School in Idaho Falls where she taught for three years.
Hawker and her husband, Wade, and their children next moved to Florida where she taught music to high school students for four years.
“It was a dream job,” she said. “There were 3,000 students in that high school; it was like being on a junior college campus.
“There was a place on campus where you could see the space shuttle,” Hawker said. “From there, I saw my first space shuttle take off.
“My kids [her students] performed at Disney World all the time.”
After the 9-11attacks, her husband lost his job as a commercial pilot with Commerce Airline, a subsidiary of Delta.
“My family was all here [in Blackfoot], so we returned home.
“We’ve done all sorts of jobs just to pay the bills,” she said.
In Blackfoot, the Hawkers started a trucking company. Hawker Transportation hauls liquids, fire retardant, fertilizer, just about anything.
On March 26, 2006, a tornado destroyed their home.
“It was our first home; it was old and drafty,” Hawker said. “After the tornado, the insurance company tore the home down to the foundation and built us a $180,000 home.”
Hawker is in her sixth year teaching Blackfoot Sixth Grade and MVMS students.
“It was an adjustment to go from teaching high school kids,” Hawker said. “I see my job as a middle school teacher as a builder.
“I’m trying to build kids—build their confidence, build their abilities—build, build, build,” she said. “Kids need to have their confidence boosted.”
In 2000, Hawker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
“I’m taking new medicine now,” she said. “It helps; I’m still walking.”
Hawker, her 13-year-old son, Brien, and 9-year-old daughter, Haley, are working toward their yellow belts in Tae Kwon Do.
“We just started in June because we were interested; we’ll take our test for our second belt in January.
“There’s a lot of punching and kicking; it’s a nice release,” Hawker said. “My legs are stronger.
“When I started, I couldn’t kick at all,” she said. “I’m improving.”
The trio is also part of the “Annie” production at the Nuart Theater. Hawker is one of the Boylan sisters in the production. She sings, “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile.”
“It’s coming together really nicely,” Hawker said. There are five more performances—tonight, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.
Husband Wade is very supportive and works a lot, she said. The couple has been married 15 years.
Hawker teaches 85 choir students at Blackfoot Sixth Grade and another 50 at MVMS. She also teaches guitar to 18 students at MVMS.
“Middle school kids pick up things fast,” Hawker said. “Guitar class is only one semester but within that time, kids are reading notes, alternating bass, strumming and finger picking.
“They really learn quickly.”
Last Friday, Hawker and her MVMS choir toured assisted living centers and nursing homes in Blackfoot. This is the second year for her “Angel Tour.”
“The ‘Angel Tour’ goal is to make people happy,” she said. “People enjoyed the music; the kids did a lot of good.
“I picked the right career for me,” she concluded.