Speer receives character coin for helping musician at state

David Speer

By Jim Jarrett

When a student from another school asked David Speer to borrow a musical instrument at a recent state band competition in Austin, the Frenship assistant band director didn’t skip a beat before saying yes.

He loaned a marimba, an instrument similar to the xylophone, to a Plano East High School student. Band directors from several other schools turned the teen down before he asked Speer.

On June 9, Frenship ISD Superintendent John Thomas gave Speer a character coin after he learned in an e-mail about the assistant band director’s act of kindness.

The school board presents character coins to district employees for good deeds.

“Any of these directors would’ve done the same thing,” said Speer after receiving the coin and motioning to other band directors at the meeting.

“Yeah, but you had the marimba,” quipped one of the band directors behind Speer.

No one would have blamed Speer for not giving the young musician the time of day. Thieves broke into the Frenship band’s equipment trailer the night before the UIL state competition at the hotel they occupied but didn’t steal anything, said Speer.  Some of the equipment was found over a fence, but was undamaged.

“Apparently, they didn’t like our equipment,” he said.

Hours later at the competition, Speer was putting up some equipment when the teen approached him in a parking lot.

The assistant band director said he remembered growing up and being loaned equipment, even music, when he was a band and orchestra member.

“We share all kinds of equipment,” said Speer.

Plus, he figured the student was on the level. The area where the bands unload their equipment was closely watched, said Speer.

“It was no big deal,” he said. “ … We are there to help students whether they are from  our school or not.”

The mother of the child sent an e-mail to the school district.

Speer said he didn’t expect to receive a character coin for helping  someone from another school. “I was surprised,” he said.

In 2007, the board handed out coins to two groups of people.

Frenship High School’s basketball staff of Jason Dear, Jerry Reynolds, Lance Hallum, Shannon Beeles, and Rene Wilson earned character coins for aiding a family who had been in a car accident until an ambulance arrived. District employees Brenda Estrada and Adolfo Cruz also were honored in helping a parent free her vehicle from the mud after she picked up her children from school.

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