Students remember Mr. Knight

100% HEART = 100% EFFORT

Satavia Jackson
Source: Knight memorial Facebook page
Source: Knight memorial Facebook page

For years and years the Capital School District has been known for being the best of the best! From sports, to extra curricular activities, to the music that got everyone hype.

One man who could get everyone on the field, in the stands, or even in the classroom to this level was Mr. Lenny Knight. On Tuesday March 14, 2017 the music stopped and the silence was overwhelming. “Papa” Knight passed away suddenly. He was a great man and we want to remember him for how great he was.

Mr. Knight was a Dover High School graduate. He graduated in 1989. He followed his dream of being a band teacher and returned to his alma mater where he taught for over 10 years while also directing the drumline at Delaware Technical and Community College and at the Blue Gold All Star Game. In 2015, he left to teach alongside his college band director, Mr. Harvey Bullock,Delaware State University (DSU). I could share my personal thoughts and feelings concerning how great of a mentor, man, teacher, director, and musician he was, but instead, his influence and memory will be shared through some thoughts and memories from his students.

Jada Davis, DHS class of 2013  is now a senior at DSU had nothing but nice things to say about her former band director. She joined band as a freshman in 2009 and became a member of the POMS team her sophomore year of high school. Davis was excited to have her former band director again in college, “Mr. Knight was very passionate about his job and most important his students. He gave his all during band camp and practices so that we did our best at every halftime show, parades, and concert. He truly loved his job and he showed it all the time.” I asked her for some advice for the students that didn’t get to meet him or have him as a director and accidentally stumped her for a minute. “Umm… this is a hard one,” she said with a smile, “I guess I would just simply say practice makes perfect. When you find that you have a gift and you enjoy doing it continue to push through and make every performance your best. And don’t be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it.” I am sure Knight is smiling too at that comment as music was his passion as well.

I will move on to a graduate from the class of 2014, Miss Jenna Lee. She join band in the 5th grade. She played the clarinet and was also a section leader for the DHS band from 2012-2014. Knight was a big influence in her life, both as a director and as a leader. “Mr. Knight,” she paused, “A lot of us called him Papa K and he was one of the best band director’s to play under. His compassion for music and his students was remarkable. There were times I felt like giving up, but he was behind me saying keep pushing and you’ll get to where you need to be. He will truly be missed but his legacy will live in all of his children, family, and friends. He kept pushing for his kids. Now how many people can really say their director would do that for them? He was truly amazing.”

Next is class of 2015, Mr. Jeremiah “Smooth” August was known for his moves as drum major, but was also a member of the Rolling Thunder Drumline. He joined band in 6th grade and his junior and senior year he was drum major. He played a lot of instruments like piano, alto saxophone, snare drum, tenor sax, and baritone sax. He attributes much of his showmanship to Knight’s influence. “Mr. Knight knew how to please a crowd. He was always involved in his community. He brought the community of Dover together. He took the band and made it an important part of modern culture and different style of marching (changing it from military to show style). Everyone was excited when they heard us coming down the street in the parade.” Speaking to the “Papa” side of Knight, “Really, Mr. Knight was a father to me. If he wasn’t in my life I wouldn’t have made some of the choices that I did. I grew into the person I am today because of him. There is definitely not a lot of people who have been through what he has. They told him to slow down but he never did because of the love he had for music and his students.” Mostly all would agree that Knight was always on the move, for his music, for his job, for mainly for his students.

Tyree Dennis  is a 2016 graduate of DHS. He joined band his freshman year and played the saxophone. He also attributes many of the right decisions in his life to Knight, but also is thankful for the values that he stood for and encouraged his students to stand by as well. “Mr. Knight everything I’m doing is because of him. He was a father- figure, a shoulder to cry on, he was everything. He gave back to the community as much as he could.” So what does Dennis feel can be done to keep Knight’s spirit going? “Continue to live, be humble, caring and continue his legacy,” he said with a smile.

Last I have class of 2017 graduate, Natasia “Nitro” Nealous. She joined band in 5th grade and played the flute. She was also a drum major in her senior year, this year, at DHS school. “Mr. Knight was a great man. I used to think that I wasn’t great but he told me to keep pushing and so I did. He showed me the meaning behind each song and why it gave the ‘juice,’ No matter what, he will always mean the world to me.”

Knights teaching influence as a DHS teacher may be ending with the graduating class of 2018, but it is up to all of us, who knew him to remember that he was more than just a teacher. He was a mentor, a role model and a father- figure to all he met. He will never be forgotten and as we go to football games, gaze out on that field. We will never forget the great shows he did or the cadences we still hear when Rolling Thunder is on its way. 100% HEART= 100% EFFORT! Rest in peace Papa Knight, gone but truly never forgotten.