Cobblers Up Close: Emily Carr

The choir room has been full of smiles during Ms. Emily Carr’s first semester at Central. It doesn’t take a long conversation with Carr to discover why that is.

By Stephanie Shuster

Miss Emily Carr, is the new choir teacher at Central High, having transferred from Belle Fourche High School. Her students this year have discovered she is marked by passion inside the classroom and in her life outside of the busy hallways of the Centrals High School fine arts department.

Carr has been teaching for four years, previously leading the band and choir in Belle Fourche. “Ketelsen called and said the [Central] position was open,” she said. “Belle Fourche took a lot of time with only one music teacher. And there is a whole crew of music teachers at Central.” The change from Belle Fourche to Central has been significant. “In Belle Fourche I was the only music teacher. I taught both band and choir kids. I had about the same about of students at Belle Fourche as I have here at Central, and since I was the only music teacher at Belle I had a lot more work than I do here at Central.”

Carr is 24 years old and went to college at Black Hills State University. She had originally gone to college to be an English teacher, but then got the Dakota Ride scholarship to be a music teacher. “My mom’s a teacher, and how she lit up when she talked about teaching made me want to teach as well,” she said. She went straight into college after high school. “In college, generals were easy. It felt like high school classes again. Music theory classes were hard, the aural portions.”

“I have never worked in a school where teachers are so helpful and inclusive. It is so much fun.”

She also enjoys working with high schoolers the best. “Elementary kids are too touchy. Middle school kids are too emotional and smell funny. And high schoolers get my sarcasm.” As far as goals for her teaching at Central are concerned, she “would like to build a more positive community between choir students, and work on retention and recruitment throughout the choir.”

So far, she is happy with how things are going. “At first teaching at Central was hard,” she said, “but now everyone has found out who I am, and I have found who Central is as a school, so it is easier.” She has also enjoyed working with Brady Ketelsen, Central’s other choir teacher, which creates a much different experience than the one she had in Belle Fourche. “Ketelsen and I work well together and complement each other well, and it is beneficial for the students to have two teachers in the classroom.” In addition, she says, “I have never worked in a school where teachers are so helpful and inclusive. It is so much fun.”

On the more fun side, Carr’s favorite candy is any kind of chocolate. Her favorite article of clothing are shirts, especially band t-shirts. She loves fall. “I like the pretty colors. I like being a basic white girl,” she said. And every year on Thanksgiving, she and her family look at all the Black Friday ads together.  If Carr didn’t have to sleep, “I would honestly do a lot of wood working. It’s so much fun. Or start a house improvement business. Maybe a beauty school.”

Carr’s ideal way to spend the weekend would be “in the Hills either hiking or camping or four-wheeling.”

One job she would be terrible at would be “being a surrogate mom. Because I’d get sick a lot, and once I saw the baby I wouldn’t be able to give it up.” And her ideal way to spend the weekend would be “in the Hills either hiking or camping or four-wheeling.”

But the best part of our interview came at the end. I asked her, “What are small things that make your day better?” And she responded, “Sometimes my dad will text me telling me random stories or random comments that he has. My favorite one, he once texted me in the middle of the day and said, ‘Don’t you hate it when the automatic flusher takes your poop away before you can see it? It’s like giving a child up for adoption before you can hold it.’”

Interviewing Miss Carr was amazing. You could really tell that she loved what she does. She has that sparkle in her eyes when she talks and a smile that can make anyone’s day automatically better. So, if you haven’t gotten a chance to meet her, you are missing on a great opportunity to get to know a truly amazing person.