Student Teacher Represents Union at Pearl Harbor Memorial

Student teaching isn’t always confined to the classroom. For Steven Hutchison, fall 2011 music education and Spanish graduate, his practicum took him over 3000 miles away.

Every education major at Union College spends a semester as a full-time student teacher, allowing students to apply their knowledge to real classroom situations and transition into the role of a teacher.

Steven Hutchison (far right), 2011 music education and Spanish major, spent six days in Hawaii as a student teacher.

“We work one on one with the teacher to plan the semester,”said Hutchison. “We first just observe then become more integrated into the courses. We usually completely take over the course in the end.”


As a student teacher at Lincoln Southwest High School, Hutchison helped teach marching band, freshman and sophomore orchestra and symphonic band. He also taught at an elementary school to receive a K-12 certification. His high school supervising teacher, Terry Rush, director of instrumental music, helped Hutchison feel like part of the musical faculty. So when the band was invited to perform at Pearl Harbor Memorial for the seventieth anniversary, Hutchison was invited too. 

“This memorial service was increasingly important because the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association (founded in 1958) is disbanding after this year due to the age and health of the membership,” explained Hutchison. 

From December 5-11, Hutchison and the other faculty traveled with more than 160 high school students to Oahu, Hawaii. Before the anniversary, the orchestra played at Ala Moana, the largest outdoor mall in the world.

The USS Arizona Memorial site is the final resting place where at least 1,177 crewmen died on December 7, 1941 when the attack on Pearl Harbor marked the United States entry into World War II. The Arizona Memorial has come to commemorate all those who lost their lives in the Pearl Harbor attack. The memorial structure built over the submerged ship—which is only accessible via boat—was where the Lincoln Southwest band ultimately performed.

“The day of Pearl Harbor there was a bunch of bands performing at a parade in town,” said Hutchison. “But we were one of two that performed at the actual memorial site.” 

Afterward, students had the unique opportunity to talk to the few remaining survivors about their part in history. Hutchison noticed was a deepened awareness and appreciation for history within the high school students there.

“It made history tangible and real for everyone,” recalled Hutchison. “It was very sobering to think of bigger things going on in the world than our everyday life.”

Even though Union’s education program doesn’t guarantee an unforgettable trip, it does ensure one-of-a-kind training. With an on-campus laboratory elementary school and connections with many schools in the community, students are prepared for a diversity of teaching atmospheres.

“I gained a lot of practical experience in the classroom,” said Hutchison. “I learned from amazing teachers, both of which are experienced and established. It’s like an apprenticeship.”

For more information about the education program at Union visit: