Brookwood Elementary School music teacher Johnny Carr ended his career the same way he conducted it, with a performance.
On the last day of school, May 21, Brookwood pupils were featured in a talent show, which Carr helped originate.
Pupils sang, danced and even hula-hooped, to Carr's direction.
"It's one of my favorite times of the year," said Carr, who retired last month after 31 years as a full-time music educator and an additional three years working part-time. "It's such a fun day to see the kids express themselves in front of their classmates so openly."
After the show, Carr hugged many of the students, knowing he likely won't see many of them again.
"It's pretty tough," said Carr, as he fought back tears. "You do this for 34 years, teach about 17,000 students, it's hard to say goodbye."
Carr isn't the only one having trouble saying farewell.
"I told him to stay near his telephone in case we needed him to come over and assist us," said Brookwood Elementary Principal Brenda Jones. "He agreed he would do that."
Jones and Carr have worked together for nearly 30 years, including more than 20 years at Brookwood.
"He was an outstanding teacher," Jones said. "He used technology very effectively and was always able to give a complete lesson, not just a lecture.
"He always reached the students through hands-on lessons that the students really responded to."
Though Carr had debated his decision to retire, in the end the timing seemed right, he said.
"I feel like this is where the Lord is leading me," he said. "I prayed and prayed about it, and moving on to something else seems like the right path for me."
Carr also owns a recording studio and is a music director at Curtis Baptist Church. He also will continue to teach on a part-time basis at Augusta State University.
"I say I'm retiring, but I'm going to keep busy," he said. "I'm always going to need something to do."
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