Local Eagle Scout honors beloved Staunton music teacher

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - A local Eagle Scout is working to make sure everyone in the community will have a place to remember a beloved Staunton music teacher.

Charlotte Gingerelli died in August 2020 after a car crash on Route 262 in Augusta County.

“Ms. Gingerellli affected a lot of people and made a lot of the kids who were a little different or more shy, she made them feel more comfortable,” said Quarter Master for Troop 388 Logan Smith.

Not too many years ago, Smith was a student in Gingerelli’s music class. Smith said he has special ties to Gingerelli, aside from loving her class as a student.

“On August 30, a couple years ago, I was being driven over to the hospital because I had high blood sugar. Along the way, we got a call notifying us of the car accident Ms. Gingerelli was in,” Smith said.

Smith said they were both in crisis at the same time.

“I survived my crisis, so I thought it would be best for me to do something to show what kind of wonderful person she was,” he said.

Even though it’s been a few years, thinking back on Gingerelli’s class still conjures warm memories.

“I don’t have a single bad memory in her music class. I was always nervous because she would always put you on the spot, but it was good that she did. A lot of students needed that,” he said.

He plans to assemble a memorial garden in her honor. He wants it to include trees, plants, a pride rock that teachers and students can sign, and, of course, music.

Since Gingerelli passed away during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns, Smith feels people didn’t get time to say goodbye. A. R. Ware Elementary School Principal Billy Brown estimates Gingerelli taught about 10,000 students.

“We have a lot of great educators who work here, but when you think about working in three different schools and how you’re really impacting a community, that’s quite impressive,” Brown said.

Gingerelli was an advocate for arts in school, and she was an advocate for her students.

“Now all of our elementary schools have art and music full time, which is something we’d lost many years ago in budget cuts,” Brown said.

Brown said that’s all thanks to Gingerelli’s hard work fighting for full time arts classes.

She taught more than just music lessons. She taught lessons you take home after school.

“Students like Logan, who she made such an impact on that he wants to do something that’s going to be here as long as the building is for people to come remember her, is another part of her legacy part of the impact she made on kids,” Brown said.

Smith said he’ll need help to complete this garden. Whether you have material, money or labor to offer, it’s all useful. He said things like soil, plants, compost, mulch, large rocks or garden fixtures will be useful.

If you’d like to donate money, follow this link.

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