Queen Latifah honors music teacher Jackie Gorski

Elsy Barcelo and Dianne Villalta

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(From left to right) Dan Gorski, music teacher Jackie Gorski, Queen Latifah and Principal Deb Smith gather after having Latifah honor and award Jackie Gorski a seven-day trip to New York City. Photo courtesy of Nick Guillory

(From left to right) Dan Gorski, music teacher Jackie Gorski, Queen Latifah and Principal Deb Smith gather after having Latifah honor and award Jackie Gorski a seven-day trip to New York City. Photo courtesy of Nick Guillory

Music teacher Jackie Gorski  originally thought she was supposed to pick up drums that Queen Latifah had donated and that Principal Deb Smith was going to be awarded. Little did Gorski know she’d be the star of “The Queen Latifah Show.”

“Gorski didn’t know she’d be on the show until she was actually called onto the stage by Latifah,” Smith said.

Only few people knew Gorski would be recognized during the May 19 show. Smith did not want many people to know because she worried the news would get out and would no longer be a secret.

“I was really nervous because I was afraid that someone like a security guard was going to spill the beans,” Smith said.

Gorski recalled being in shock when she was called on instead of Smith. She believed the recognition was for Smith and continuously wondered when Smith was going to be called on stage.

“I felt scared, nervous, overwhelmed, confused, those are the negative feelings,” Gorski said. “I was also grateful, amused and very happy, I guess I had a mixture of feelings. My mouth was dry so I tried that trick I told you guys, to bite (your) tongue to get saliva.”

Four students, seniors Rusel Ramirez, Julia Garcia, Alexandra Obiekia and Victoria Cook, were chosen by Smith to be interviewed by the Queen Latifah field team for the best wishes segment of the show. The interviews were taped on campus and appeared on the show.

“I feel like Gorski is compassionate about being a teacher and about music. She cares about students and about music. She inspires students to be just as compassionate about music as she is,” Cook said. “I’ve only been at (this school) for two years, but I’ve had Gorski for both those years. Once for music history and this year for chorus. Both years, she was an amazing teacher.”

During the show Gorski was excited to see Ramirez and Cook on tape and was moved by what they said about her. However, she was still wondering why they were speaking about her and not of Smith.

Gorski was more surprised when her husband Dan appeared on the show. Latifah awarded her a seven day vacation to New York City.

Gorski has been to New York before but has not gotten a chance to see much of of the city. She plans on trying some of the pizza from a place Latifah recommended to her called, Ray’s Pizza. She also wants to walk through Central Park, watch a broadway show and maybe go to a couple of museums.

“It does inspire me. I greatly appreciate that recognition, but I long for that recognition for other teachers, especially those in our school. I see so many great teachers not being recognized. I think everybody should be recognized,” Gorski said.