Music teacher Donald DeVito is one standout among UF’s Outstanding Young Alumni
Author: Unknown Publication Date: Wednesday April 20, 2011
It’s doubtful you can listen to the music Donald DeVito’s students make and not start dancing in your seat. The rhythms emanating from their drum line are infectious. The smiles emanating from his students faces are even more so.
DeVito’s students have perfomed in places that professional musicians dream of. A few years ago they went to Walt Disney World. In 2010 they went to Carnegie Hall. And in 2011, they’re hoping they’ll receive an invitation to play on the White House lawn.
DeVito (BMUSE ’94, MM ’99, PhD ’06) is the music director at Gainesville’s Sidney Lanier School, a public school for children and young adults ages 3 to 21 who have moderate to profound special needs. DeVito’s students include children with autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities.
Through DeVito’s class, his students have reached across the community and the globe to create musical relationships. They have played in person with Santa Fe College’s Jazz Band, and via Skype with students like themselves on different continents.
DeVito’s work has earned him a variety of honors, including the national 2011 Teacher of the Year award from the Council for Exceptional Children.
Last week, UF added to those honors. DeVito, an alumnus of the College of Fine Arts, was one of 32 recent graduates honored with the 2011 Outstanding Young Alumni award.
Watch a video about Donald DeVito’s class
Read about all the 2011 Outstanding Young Alumni recipients
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