Golden Apple Award winner: Vicki Kirkendall

OIL CITY, LA (KSLA) - When you walk into the music room at Oil City Magnet school in the morning it looks more like a rock band practice than class, but with music teacher Vicki Kirkendall the two are one and the same.

When James Burton and a group called Kids Rock donated guitars to her music room, she realized how much the kids enjoyed it.

"They wanted to play the songs like they were hearing on the radio, and so we started learning key board. We started learning bass and drums," said Kirkendall.

From there, the sweet potatoes were born. They are Oil City Magnet's own group of rock stars who meet every morning to practice, and then Kirkendall takes them out on the road.

"She's a fun teacher.   She lets everyone pick the songs they want to play," said 7th grade drummer Debossiea Lewis.

"We get more into it and we're laughing and smiling and cutting up and having fun," said 8th grade vocalist and guitarist Kristen Hutchinson.

"She schedules their performances. She spends her time and a lot of her own money to get them to the next level." said school counselor Cathy James.

Being a rock star isn't cheap. The school can't afford everything the kids want.

"The guitar is mine, the bass amp and the bass is mine, yeah I bring my instruments up here," said Kirkendall.

Every time a pick or string breaks, Kirkendall replaces them, so the $500 Golden Apple prize will help keep these kids going.

"It's gonna buy some new instruments that need to be replaced.   It's gonna buy a new drum throne for sure," said Kirkendall.

The students in the Sweet Potato band say they look forward to coming to class in the morning because Mrs. Kirkendall has found a unique way to make learning fun.

Kirkendall won the weekly Golden Apple Award for teaching excellence. The award comes with a $500 prize from the sponsor, The Kirby Kelly Law Firm.

To nominate an Ark-La-Tex educator to win the award, click here to fill out the form.

Copyright 2012 KSLA. All rights reserved.