Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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March 3, 2013

Sanborn School's Harvest Festival founder has book on her life

The founder of Sanborn School's popular and annual Harvest Festival has written an autobiographical book about her teaching career that took her around the world.

Now a retired 81-year-old grandmother living in Dracut, Mary Beakey Guziejka, taught music at Sanborn School for 16 years. She taught music for a total of 50 years, leaving Sanborn to take a sabbatical to teach music in England. Following that, she worked for the Department of Defense Dependents School system and taught music to the children of military personnel for another 20 years in Okinawa, Japan, Turkey and Italy.

Her just-released self-published book, "Just the Right Note," (Amazon.com, $36), is 616 pages of her teaching adventures and classroom experiences. A strong supporter of music and the performing arts for kids, she insists that all children benefit from a music program in their school – even the not so well-behaved students.

"I've seen all kinds of students and I know how important music and the performing arts are for kids," said Guziejka. "They can make a student feel better about themself and that's so important."

The former teacher writes about Sanborn musicals and its annual square-dance event in the book.

All those years at Sanborn she pushed a piano from classroom to classroom to teach music as she didn't have a music room until her last year, she said.

"And I pulled a wagon, which had all of my other instruments," she said.

Former Superintendent of Schools Ken Seifert remembers Guziejka well. He approved her sabbatical.

"Mary never considered music as an extra subject. She always considered music as a very basic discipline that permeated our lives," Seifert said. "Plato said there were only two subjects to be taught in the early years of a child’s life, physical education and the arts. I think Mary believed it."

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