During the day, Marvin Hatchett is a security guard at Wilson Middle School in Pasadena, California, but once the bell rings, he becomes a music teacher, mentor, and champion of the arts.
The school does not have enough money for a music program, and since 1983, Hatchett has served as a one-man performing arts department, teaching students at Wilson everything from the drums to the violin. Many of the students can't afford to purchase their own instruments, and when he's able to secure funds, Hatchett uses the money to buy them for the kids. "Everything that involves drums, Marvin has taught me," student Dillon Akers told NBC Los Angeles. "If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be doing this right now."
Some of his former students have gone on to become professional musicians, and Hatchett gets excited when he sees natural talent. "That's what gets you to keep going, and that's what makes you say, 'I got to do it again,'" he said. Hatchett's role as a music teacher is strictly voluntary, and he receives nothing in return except the knowledge that he's making a difference in the lives of many students. "He has integrity and he has a humbleness that is just a rare quality," Principal Sarah Rudchenko said. Catherine Garcia