LAKEWOOD RANCH -- After conducting literally hundreds of LRHS band students all day long, Robert Schaer goes into his office, and focuses on his laptop reviewing and preparing for the marching band to rehearse on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and who will compete in the upcoming marching band season.
Looking at Schaer go through his normal routine, one would never expect that he is planning on retiring at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. And that’s just the way he wants it.
“I know many students already know about my retirement, and that it is my last year,” Schaer said. “But for me it feels just like every other school year, except I know I’m not returning next fall.”
Schaer is in his 35th year of teaching music. He has taught in Ohio and Florida. He taught at Southeast High School and transferred to Lakewood Ranch High School when it opened.
Over the years Schaer has inspired many students to pursue music outside of high school. This is hardly surprising with the two jazz ensembles, three concert bands, one percussion class, one color guard class, music theory courses, marching band, and winter guard that Mr. Schaer oversees as the band director.
“Mr. Schaer inspired me to pursue music,” former LRHS marching band drum major and current music major Kelsey Zeller said. “I can’t imagine LRHS without him in it, he was such a big part of my high school life.”
However many students will not be able to finish their high school career with Schaer as their teacher.
“Mr. Schaer is a fantastic teacher. I wish he was retiring my senior year,” junior Nickie Tuttle said, “but anyone who has him would say that, he is just that awesome.” “I love having Mr. Schaer as my band teacher,” Junior clarinetist Olivia Junghans said. “He is such a fantastic teacher, and I hope he has a nice retirement.”
Ron Lambert, the current assistant band director, will take over as band director.
“Mr. Schaer has set such a high standard for teaching here,” Lambert said. “I know it will be difficult to maintain, but I am going to do my best.”
Schaer will still support his Marching Mustangs through his retirement.
“I will probably go to competitions to see the marching band, and maybe some school competitions,” Schaer said. “But my main plans for retirement are golfing, relaxing, and maybe working at Publix if I get too bored.”
Even with Schaer leaving, he offers some advice to current and future students of LRHS.
“Live life to the fullest,” Schaer said. “High school, like life is short, and before you know it you’re old and still have a ton of life goals to fulfill. So don’t let a single moment slip by.”