Meet the teachers paying tribute to our military in Big Bay Boom spectacular

Big Bay Boom

SAN DIEGO — Five teachers from across San Diego County will pay tribute to the nation’s military during FOX 5’s Big Bay Boom Spectacular on July 4th.

Watch FOX 5’s Big Bay Boom coverage starting at 8 p.m.

Tamara Drake Connolly

Tamara Drake Connolly is a fourth grade teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Lakeside.

Connolly has several family members who serve or have served in the military. Her sister served in the Navy, her uncle in the Air Force, and she has cousins who are active duty in the Army and the Marine Corps. Her grandparents were in the Navy when they met while stationed in San Diego, and her grandmother trained pilots during World War II.

“I’m so excited for you to see what my fellow teachers and I have been planning to honor our military and educators. I also want to make my students proud. I want show them that you should reach for the stars, no matter how scary it might be.”

Bryce Harrison

Bryce Harrison is the choral director at Mission Vista High School in Oceanside.

Harrison, who lives in Orange County, drives about 500 miles each week to direct choirs at Mission Vista and church music in Ramona. He calls what he does “the best job in the world.”

Harrison says his journey to this point was unexpected. As a child, he was shy and too afraid to sing — until a teacher pushed him into his life’s work.

Harrison’s uncle fought in the Vietnam War and his grandfather flew B-52s in World War II.

“To be able to honor the military on Fourth of July with my fellow educators — I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Marielena Teng

Marielena Teng is the choir director at Mira Mesa High School.

Because Teng’s father was a Naval officer, she moved frequently, living on and near military bases her entire life. She has only had a few constant comforts, one of which is music. She is the only one in her family who chose music education as her career.

“It has been a pleasure teaching kids every day and giving them a constant comfort like it was for me. So it is my pleasure to present an amazing performance prepared alongside other music educators like myself to honor our military and our nation.”

Mario Eguia

Mario Eguia teaches at National City Middle School, City Heights Music School and Options Secondary School in Chula Vista.

Eguia is also a proud Navy veteran and a mariachi performer. He says music has played a big part in his life, helping him cope with difficult situations growing up and keeping him calm while serving abroad. He even taught guitar to fellow sailors during deployment.

“I don’t really think of myself as a singer, so I am humbled and excited to be performing in this show alongside other teachers.”

Grace Morrison

Grace Morrison is the choir director at Grossmont High School in El Cajon.

Morrison says the bond formed from singing together in class is the reason she is so passionate about teaching choir. She applauds her students for continuing to practice amid the pandemic, even when it meant going outside in small groups to sing with masks on.

Morrison’s father served in the Navy and fought in the Vietnam War.

“It is an honor to be a part of this Fourth of July show and I can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for you.”

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