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Ozarks Life: Blake Richter inspires Nixa students while earning Grammy honors

The Nixa choir teacher was a semifinalist out of more than 2,000 nominees
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 9:02 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - If you closed your eyes when entering Nixa Junior High it sounds like you’re at a cathedral or Carnagie Hall. Not near a school cafeteria.

“The choir room used to be the cafeteria,” Blake Richter said. “I’m like guys, we make beautiful music where I ate beautiful chicken patties!”

They say those who do what they love never work a day in their life.

“This age group is unlike anything else,” Richter says of his junior high students, “some are hyped-up.”

“He doesn’t teach music,” one student said, “he teaches children.”

“The best part of teaching is when you get to see the kids have a spark and get it,” Richter said.

In college Blake wasn’t sure what he wanted to do - be a music teacher or a minister. So he did both. Today he preaches to the choir, not about religion, but about the value of self-worth. It’s something crucial for a junior high student.

“If I have problems, I can go to Mr. Richter,” another student said.

“He’s always support you and be there for you,” another added.

“When you have teachers like Blake running around,” principal Dr. Jared Webster said, “it makes life easy.”

In a day where teenagers can’t agree on anything, Mr. Richter hits all the right notes.

“When I was in junior high,” Richter said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Some kids say they want to be a music teacher, and they’re asking me about it at 13 and 14.”

His dynamic style, service, and success helped Richter become a semifinalist for the National Grammy Teacher of the Year Award. One out of almost 2,000 nominations.

“He really cares about our kids and just wants them to be better,” Dr. Webster said.

Unfortunately, Blake just missed out on making the Top-10.

“It was great he even got nominated for it,” a student said.

“To be recognized for a Grammy for going to recess everyday,” Richter laughed.

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