Musician Larry Vannatta encourages teachers to let kids express themselves
Giselle Wedemire/Intern Reporter,  Monday, September 3, 2012
Though Milo-area-based country musician Larry Vannatta graduated from County Central High School (CCHS) in 1978, he received his first school award last Thursday at the sixth annual Palliser Wall of Fame induction ceremony.

"I know it took me 50 years - I've never gotten an award in school, but I finally got it," Vanatta said during his speech at the


More than 900 Palliser staff, friends and families were in attendance at the ceremony, which was part of the Opening Day Celebration for Palliser Regional Schools at Vulcan's Cultural-Recreational Centre.

Vannatta was one of four inductees honoured this year for their outstanding achievements in their particular fields.

In addition to Vannatta, other honoured inductees included Olympic skater Jason Turner, Dr. David Tano, and Lethbridge

Herald photographer Ian Martens - all of whom attended Palliser schools and have since gone on to achieve remarkable goals.

A self-taught musician and songwriter, Vannatta said in his speech that music became his creative outlet primarily because it allowed him to express himself in ways that he never could in mandatory school essays.

Though he admitted that school was difficult for him as he was never the best at spelling, he found that he excelled in music despite never taking music lessons and his inability to read music.

In his career as a musician, during which he has received Juno Awards nominations in 1992 and 1993 as well as the Songwriter of the Year award from the European Country Music Association in 2011, Vannatta has found that education is a constant and lifelong journey.

Echoing the school board's motto of "Dream and believe, learn and achieve," he implored the teachers of Palliser Regional Schools to continue their efforts to seek out the talents and passions of their kids to help them find and reach their dreams.

"As a songwriter, it is my role to express myself emotionally with music," he said.

"Let those kids in school express themselves whether they're good at this or that because if you look for the abilities in those kids, it's amazing what they can do."

Colleen Deitz, vice-chair of Palliser's school board, personally nominated Vannatta because she said his achievements beyond his days at CCHS have "warranted him the committee's recognition."


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