Jon Larson, orchestra director, motivates students in the Moorhead High School Commons every morning, three minutes before first period. His energetic and joyous personality makes him an easy friend and an even better mentor.
“Mr. Larson makes class fun and enjoyable for everyone, with his jokes, stories and unique birthday songs for each student,” says Sophie Pepple, MHS Class of 2020. “He takes the time and care to help any student who is in need. I know for a fact that he has developed a friendship with every one of his students, and all of them look up to him as a role model.”
Creating Connections Through Mentorship
Larson’s ability to connect on a level past the textbook shows the deep level of care he has for teaching and students.
Larson is known at Moorhead High School for his charismatic personality. Pam Redlinger, Moorhead High School band director, says “Rarely do you leave a conversation with him without feeling as though you were listened to.” Redlinger points out that many current or past students claim he is easily one of the teachers who had a strong impact on their high school experience.
“I believe I have been called to teach,” Larson says. “I have a heart for students to instill in them not only music techniques and an appreciation for music, but also life skills to lead a positive, productive life.”
He found ways to motivate each of us to work through difficult sections, or even songs to draw beauty off sheets of music” says Andrew Fuglestad, MHS Class of 2010. He remembers his days in the orchestra room fondly, “When he finally shaped the entire orchestra to the song, we’d finish it, and the last note would ring out. Every time that happened, Mr. Larson would wipe tears from his eyes. Those tears, we came to realize, were of deep appreciation for the essence of music. I will never forget those moments and greatly admire Mr. Larson for his love of music.”
Passion for Music
An orchestra teacher since 1976, Larson has been with Moorhead Area Public Schools for 17 years. He also donates his time and musical abilities to many community organizations.
“Mr. Larson has a strong passion, and talent, for music. The guidance and teaching from Mr. Larson has earned Moorhead High’s orchestra various awards, recognitions and opportunities for students that simply are not available for students at other schools,” says Greta Seljevold, MHS Class of 2017.
The collective recognition of Larson’s passion for music and teaching was unified amongst all who know and work with him. Kathie Brekke, Moorhead High School vocal teacher says, “He exemplifies every quality of a master teacher and is an incredible asset to the music department and school community. I cannot think of a more deserving individual than Jon Larson to receive this award. He gives every last bit of himself to see his students succeed, and he finds fulfillment not in his own musical achievements, but the achievements of his students.”
Congratulations to Moorhead Area Public Schools 2020 Teacher of the Year Jon Larson. Larson was awarded 2020 Teacher of the Year after being named Moorhead High School Teacher of the Year. The other deserving nominees are listed below.
Sara Bucher, West Central Academy
Rick Eidsness, Horizon Middle School East
Stacy Jenson, Ellen Hopkins Elementary
Julie Morlock, Dorothy Dodds Elementary School
Kate Rockstad, Horizon Middle School West
Kathleen Sayler, Probstfield Center for Education
Ethan Schnabel, Robert Asp Elementary
Judy Werner, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary