Beloved music teacher dies
One of the most beloved teachers to have ever taught in the Estill County School System died Monday, triggering lots of memories and causing sadness among her many former students and friends.
Rhoda Ann Winn Higginbotham came to teach at Estill County High School in 1962. She taught music appreciation and directed girls’, boys’ and mixed choruses through the 1966 school year.
She taught at Madison Model from 1967 to 1977 before returning to Estill County where she again taught at the high school.
She served as itinerant elementary school music teacher at Ravenna, Irvine and Hargett until Estill Springs opened and she taught there until her retirement in 1993.
In 1988 she was named Teacher of the Year locally and was a state and national Teacher of the Year nominee.
She received the Kentucky Music Educators Distinguished Service Award in 1994. She taught a total of 35 years, with 22 of them being in Estill County Schools. She also taught in Fayette County, Clark County and at Eastern Kentucky University.
Her research in boys changing voices, a subject in which her expertise was recognized statewide, is still included at EKU’s library.
During her years teaching elementary students, her classes performed entertaining and creative music programs. She designed and built sets, and made costumes for these programs. She and her students composed much of the music she used. These programs are still talked about today.
She once told her students that everybody had the ability to sing and she could teach anybody to sing. She loved her students and they loved her. Many of them went on to have successful careers in the music field, some of them in education, due to her influence.
Mrs. Higginbotham graduated from Irvine High School, received her bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree and rank one from EKU.
She was the primary musician for her church, Wisemantown Methodist for more than 50 years.
She was an antique dealer/consultant, avid gardener and an artist.
She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
She is survived by her daughter, Ann Moreland and her son, Gene Higginbotham.
A complete obituary is on page A6.