Fredericton High School music teacher Don Bossé has been named recipient of the 2016 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award.
The award recognizes teachers with outstanding dedication to inspiring and nurturing the musical growth of Canadian youth, according to a news release from MusiCounts, Canada's music education charity.
It's sponsored by The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Canadian Country Music Association, and included each year as part of the Juno Awards.
"It's pretty amazing, it's awesome, it's almost overwhelming, it's quite an honour to be named the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year," said Bossé, at his classroom at FHS.
Bossé, who has been teaching at Fredericton High School for 22 years, received $10,000, plus a $10,000 contribution to his school's music program.
He was presented the trophy by two members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Rush, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, who are the sponsors of this year's award.
"Geddy and Alex were there, and I said 'Geddy, what are you doing here?' said Bossé. "I turned around and hugged him. It was pretty amazing, it was quite a feeling."
MusiCounts has awarded $9 million to schools and music programs all over Canada since its inception in 1997.
Its goal is to make sure students have access to music programs and instruments no matter their cultural or financial background.
Bossé was recognized as a key contributor to the community, and for his passion for music and teaching.
He's used grant money to put a professional-quality recording studio in the school, and set up a special recording course as well.
Two of his former students are Juno Award winners, David Myles and Measha Brueggergosman.
He hasn't decided what to do with his prize as yet, but does have ideas for the money for the school.
"We're going to invest in some of the technology that we're using in our recording studio, do some upgrades and go from there," he said.
In addition, Bossé will get VIP treatment throughout Juno Week in Calgary, attending the chairman's reception, the gala dinner and awards, and walk the red carpet at the Juno Awards broadcast on April 3.