Henry Estrada has been the driving force behind the Los Lunas High School Tiger Band for the last 33 years. He has taught hundreds of students- including my husband and myself. He's given up time with his wife and three children, time with friends, and the pursuit of fishing in August to provide his students with the instruction that they needed to be the best that they could be.
Mr. E- as he's affectionately called by all of his students- would work year-round to plan and design marching shows, rehearse music, and plan festivals, competitions, and band trips for all of his students. He would show up early to lead Jazz Band rehearsals, and stay late after school so that students could practice, do homework, or just hang out until parents could pick them up.
Mr. Estrada was, clearly, one of my favorite teachers in high school. He taught myself and countless others so much more than how to play music. He taught me what it meant to be part of a team- that I had a job to do, and it was just as important as everyone else's. He taught me that my speech patterns said a lot about who I was, and who I am (Mr. E, may I please use the phone now?). He showed me the difference between being a Jack of All Trades, and what it means to master just one. He taught us grace, dignity, respect, honesty, loyalty, hard work, determination, and responsibility.
One of my dearest memories was taking 10th place at Tournament of Bands- the marching competition sponsored by New Mexico State University. It may not sound like much, but for us, we won that night. It was the first- and only- time that the Los Lunas Tiger Band made finals in that competition. I was a Senior that year, and my brother was a Freshman; we were both in that band. I don't remember Mr. E ever having been prouder of us than he was that night.
I want to wish Mr. Henry Estrada the best in his retirement. He's definitely earned it. Thanks for everything sir!