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Hall of Fame-Arts: Leslie (Fylling) Nelson

By Wendy Sweeter,


Retired music teacher Leslie (Fylling) Nelson spent 37 years teaching music to students in Tea.

Nelson was recognized for arts in the first class of Hall of Fame inductees during homecoming Sept. 30.

Nelson was Tea Area’s first teacher of the year and the songwriter for the school song. At the time the district was formed, they held a lyric contest to go with the melody that was chosen.

“Everybody was encouraged to write lyrics for this. The authors were kept anonymous so whoever was on the lyric committee wouldn’t see any names,” she said. “I was the only one who came up with four sets of lyrics and whoever was on this selection committee were given these four sets of lyrics.”

She noted that all of her lyric submissions had similarities. In one version she intentionally wrote a line to bridge some of the ugliness of the districts separating.

“There was one of the copies that I intentionally wrote to bridge any separation between the Tea and Lennox districts because it was pretty ugly for a long time. There was one part of the lyrics that said ‘Titan spirit we will defend, athletes, scholars, friends to the end,’” Nelson said. “That was kind of a nod to both of the communities to let’s put this ugliness behind us and we can remain friends and family.”

The lyrics were set to music by William A. Dougherty Jr. with his song he wrote from The Ohio State University in 1915 - (Fight the Team) Across the Field. One reason they chose the song was because it was in public domain and they did not have to worry about copyright laws.

They also wanted a song that wasn’t used by schools in the area.

“We were really looking for something that wasn’t used around this area. Lennox is On Wisconsin. We wanted something different,” she said.

She started off teaching in Tea as part of the Lennox School District. She taught in the Tea Area School District from 2003 until 2018. Her whole career was teaching elementary music.

As enrollment kept increasing as the district grew, Nelson’s number of classes decreased as more teachers were added.

“As the enrollment kept getting bigger and bigger, I went from maybe having K-6 to maybe having K-4 and then it was K-3. There were other music teachers who were added and enrollment just kept growing,” she said.

Most of her time in the classroom was spent in Legacy Elementary, but she did spend one year teaching students in Frontier Elementary as well.

Her advice to students from the Hall of Fame slide show, “Reach deep inside and do your best in whatever you do, now and in future years. Make music a part of your everyday life - sing, hum, dance, whistle, yodel, play an instrument, listen to good music and enjoy it all.”


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