Surprise retirement party thrown for EA band director

Halen Doughty
Students, faculty, parents, and alumni gathered at EA to celebrate the career of band director Patti Roussel

The band director at East Ascension High School, Patti Roussel, has retired, but not withouth going out with a show. Students, teachers, and alumni threw a surprise party for Roussel ahead of her retirement at the end of the school year. Roussel has been a band director for more than 35 years.

The drumline performed as Roussel entered the new cafeteria, where decorations were set up and people were gathered to welcome their favorite band director. Refreshments were offered including cakes wishing Roussel a happy retirement.

After making the rounds and giving plenty of hugs, Roussel made her way to the stage where students and alumni shared their best memories in Roussel's band hall. Students talked about the profound influence Roussel had on their lives. Many said she taught much more than music, she also shared valuable life lessons. One former student said her heart breaks, not for herself or Roussel, but for all the students who never got a chance to know her influence.

Following the heartwarming stories, Roussel took the stage with a band of students and alumni one final time. It was a moment those present will never forget.

Roussel was the Director of Bands at East Ascension High School in Gonzales, Louisiana. Prior to this she was the Band Director at Gonzales Middle School, where in 1998 she was selected as “Teacher of the Year”. Her bands at East Ascension High School and Gonzales Middle School have earned sweepstakes trophies at all District and State Festivals since her arrival in Gonzales in 1995.

Roussel began her teaching career in North Louisiana where she taught in Tallulah and Monroe, after earning a Bachelors Degree in Music Education at Louisiana Tech in Ruston. In 1999, her alma mater named Roussel “Bandmaster of the Year”, and in 2001 she was named the “Band Director of the Year” by the Epsilon chapter of the Phi Beta Mu honor music fraternity.

Roussel is active as an honor band clinician and festival adjudicator through out the state. She has also been invited to clinic the Monroe County Honor Band in Key West, Florida and clinic the middle school band festival in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Roussel is a member of the following professional organizations: Louisiana Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, Louisiana Band Association, National Band Association and Phi Beta Mu, a national honor music fraternity.

Congratulations on 38 amazing years, Ms. Roussel!

Follow Halen on Twitter: @LikeVanHalen