Orchestra Teacher Leaves After 15 Years at Chapin

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Margarita Mendez’s message to her students before her last days at Chapin.

Sienna Villalobos, Staff Writer

Margarita Mendez has held her position as the orchestra teacher at Chapin for 16 years. Although on January 13, 2022, she held a zoom meeting where she revealed to her students that she would be leaving to accept another position. 

Rumors of her leaving circulated throughout the program before she held the meeting.  

“I found out through another student a couple days before she announced anything, but I really didn’t want to believe it,” senior cellist Vanessa Carreon said. 

Ms. Mendez taught in a way that kept students involved and interested.  

“She is a very lively person and brought energy into the classroom that will definitely be missed,” sophomore violinist Anna Vera said. 

Students still hold onto memories of being a part of her orchestra. 

“The Disney trip from 2019 was my favorite memory with her I just loved being with the whole orchestra at one of my favorite places,” Vanessa said.  

The second semester of the 2021-2022 school year will be without Mendez.  

“It feels like we have been abandoned, ” junior violinist Jeremy Gonzalez said. “UIL contest and solo/ensemble is right around the corner but there really is no help available.”  

A substitute teacher who has a music teaching background is currently leading the class for orchestra and mariachi.  

“The substitute does have musical knowledge but not enough to conduct and if we do want to go to contest, we need the help of an orchestra teacher,” Jeremy said. 

The students question if they will be prepared for UIL (University Interscholastic League) in March.  

“We never got the chance to rehearse our pieces for contest with a conductor,” Anna said. “We really don’t know how they’ll sound in a couple weeks when we have to play them in front of an audience.” 

There is still hope among students for a successful production. 

“As long as we work together as an orchestra and realize if we really do want to go to UIL, it’s up to us then yes I believe we can be successful,” Vanessa said.