“There are a lot of life lessons that can be learned from music. Musicians are the peacekeepers; they bring everyone together under a common passion.”
She said music teaches her students discipline and how to be team players.
“Music involves science, math and history,” she said. “It teaches you about anatomy and how to breathe when singing. When they learn about the renaissance in history, I try to incorporate music from that time period into my classes. There is not a class I can walk into here that music wouldn't apply to.”
Mechling said her door is always open to students who need to be heard.
“I get everything. From struggling with classes to struggling at home, this is where they come,” she said.
Two years ago when faculty member Katherine Lopez died tragically, students flocked to Mechling's door.
Together, they sang the Latin song, “Esto Les Digo,” which translated means, “where two or more are gathered, so too I will be.”
Mechling said her students hold nine fundraisers a year to pay for instruments, uniforms and to help support the Mid-Del Food Pantry.
Even with the fundraisers, there are times when students can't afford uniforms, instruments or a ticket to travel to a concert. Former students often lend a helping hand.
“I'll make a post on Facebook about something a student needs and we never have to wait too long,” she said.
As teacher of the year, Mechling was given gift cards, a 46-inch flat screen TV, blankets, candy, fruit baskets, a Kindle and the year's use of a 2013 GMC Terrain, leased for free excluding gas and insurance, from Hudiburg Auto Group in Del City.
“I had no idea all this stuff came with it,” Mechling said. “I got the fruit basket and then things kept on coming. But I'm not complaining.”
After her youngest daughter reaches her own career goals, Mechling said, she hopes to pursue a master's degree in counseling or psychology. A poster on her office wall sums up her teaching philosophy.
“Life is like a piano,” it reads. “What you get out of it depends on how well you play it.”