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Who WE Are – John Sopkanich

Some might say John Sopkanich never left the Colonial School District.  Immediately after graduating from William Penn (WP) in 2013, he was hired to help with the high school’s marching band in the fall while attending the University of Delaware, and the indoor drumline in the spring.  Why, aside from the extra money every college student needs?  Because Sopkanich got hooked on music as a Colonial student. “I was involved in so many different music groups at WP and the performance opportunities were rewarding and memorable.  I loved traveling and performing in places like Wildwood, NJ, Walt Disney World, MetLife Giants Stadium, Hershey Park and more!  I remember getting off the bus every morning and hanging out in the band room until first period, as well as spending lunch and free periods in W111, a tradition that the current band students continue.”  Sopkanich loves seeing his students hanging out in his band room. After being hired as an assistant band director in 2015, and band director three years later., Sopkanich has never looked back saying, “I had an extraordinary experience in the WP Music Department, and that is an experience I hope to provide to our students, only better.  Being a younger educator, I feel as though I am particularly successful at forming meaningful relationships with my students and including relevant music and repertoire to keep students engaged and excited about learning music.  Additionally, I try to include everyone regardless of their ability level.  If a student wants to make music, I will always find a place for them in our department.”  While teaching music is paramount to Sopkanich, he hopes his students learn other life-long lessons from him and the rest of the music staff.  “We try to help our students learn to be supportive and accepting of others and treating others and themselves with grace.  I want students to know how to disagree respectfully with one another, how to have uncomfortable conversations,to  be accepting of other students and their diverse backgrounds or differing beliefs and values” he says.  After being challenged with teaching music virtually during the pandemic, this tried and true Colonial can’t wait for students to return in person again saying, “To have our ensembles making music again in our shared spaces is going to be an amazing feeling!”

John is Who WE Are