Associate Wando Choral director Mary Elizabeth Goodson
Mary Elizabeth Goodson
The daughter of Max and Anne Goodson of Sumter, and the sister of Adam, who lives in Charlotte.
Associate Choral director at Wando High School
Philanthropy/Volunteer work: There’s a lot of functions and events that we do inside and outside of school for the community, but I don’t know if I would call it volunteer work. The past two years, Wando Chorus has made our fall concert a canned food drive. Last year we collected 1,000 cans of food for the community. We also work closely with the students on Voices of Wando, a concert in its second year of production. The proceeds from Voices of Wando go to research on Pancreatic Cancer. This year for fall concert, our theme was “Out of This World,” and all of our songs centered on the earth, moon and sun. The students presented ways to help the environment, and Sewee showed a video while we closed the concert with “Over the Rainbow.”
Graduated fom Sumter High School, B.M. in Music Education from University of South Carolina. M.M. in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University.
Did you see yourself being where you are today? Why? Absolutely not. If someone had told me in high school and even most of college that one day I would teach, I would have thought that they were crazy. Looking back,I think I was more concerned with myself and performing. I didn’t yet understand how powerful and how rewarding it is to help students grow into the person that they are meant to be.
How did you get to where you are today?
Lots of amazing teachers. That’s why I wanted to become a teacher myself, and why it was important for me to come back to South Carolina. In every point in my education, I had incredible teachers who inspired me and taught me so much more than the subject material. For me to take that and not give back in some way, and not do that in the state where I was raised felt wrong. After I earned my Master’s degree in Louisiana I was determined to come home to South Carolina to teach what I’m passionate about - music. Now I’m part of a cycle. One day one of my former students will become a teacher and inspire future generations, and it will continue.
What is your life philosophy?
Work hard, be kind and follow your heart. I think if people see you are so passionate and confident about something, they want to join you.
What inspires you? My students. They come from all walks of life, but every day they come into class with a smile on their face and we make incredible music. Some of them are going through some difficult times, but they face it bravely and with a good attitude. My students have taught me kindness, strength, respect, humor, patience, pride and, of course, musicality. We really are like a big family in chorus - music helps us connect with each other in a very unique way.
Who is your mentor and why?
Eric Wilkinson, the director of Wando Chorus, has taught me so much about how to teach. He inspires the students to be and sound the best they can while having a great time. He also cares deeply about the students as people. Every day he and I have so much fun teaching together. I am very lucky I get to work with my mentor. There are also countless other teachers who have made me the person I am today.
Best advice you have ever been given?
Whenever I’m making a hard decision, My mom always tells me to trust myself and do what I think is best. I think it’s important to go with what you believe is right. If you make some mistakes, then you’ve learned something.
What do you do to relax, hobbies? Anything outside, because Charleston is gorgeous. I just bought a house, and have found that I actually enjoy yard work - when I’m not killing plants. My puppy dog Molly and I love to take walks and bike rides, especially on the beach. I also love to bake and read when I get time.