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Lakewood High School music teacher opens doors and stages for students

'Whatever they need, I'm gonna make sure they have it.'

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — At Lakewood High School, the product of Dr. Beth Hankins' teaching echoes through the halls. Like the notes from her music students' instruments, her impact can be felt throughout the building. 

"Dr. Hankins has been such an inspiration to me," said senior Lydia Kress. "And not even just an inspiration but my biggest supporter. She's so understanding, so helpful, everything you look for in a mentor." 

Lydia describes the orchestra teacher's teaching style as caring, kind and brutally honest. It's a style that she has brought to Lakewood since she started teaching at the district back in 1990. She has been inspiring students through music, even creating the 'Lakewood Project,' which is a groundbreaking rock orchestra at Lakewood High School. 

It's music that starts in her classroom, but because of her guidance, it has carried throughout the country. 

"I have a student who is the orchestrator for David Newman out in LA," said Hankins. "I have just a plethora of students who are involved in the arts in some way because of the Lakewood project. It's a different learning environment. I am a facilitator." 

To honor her for all of her passionate work, we teamed up with Dunkin' and surprised her in front of all the Lakewood School District teachers and staff.

As she starts a new school year, Dr. Hankins will continue passionately advocating for her students in both the classroom and in life. 

"I don't have kids, so they're my kids. They mean everything," said Hankins. "Whatever they need, I'm gonna make sure they have it." 

It's that support and guidance that has inspired Lydia to pursue a career in music. She is undecided on where she will attend college, but knows she will study music and credits Dr. Hankins's support that gives her the confidence to pursue music after high school. 

Throughout the month of August, 3News honored multiple teachers in Northeast Ohio as they headed back to school.

RELATED: 3News and Dunkin' surprises Canton teacher that inspires students to ask 'what if' in the classroom to help students achieve success outside of class

RELATED: 3News honors Education All-Star Jackie Gerber from Gurney Elementary School

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on Aug. 17, 2022.

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