Making a Difference

CAHS welcomes new orchestra director


Benjamin Williams, Fine Arts

Cumberland Academy welcomed a new orchestra director into our family this year, and so far, Shane Almendarez has been an incredible addition. With a deep love for music and goals to not only teach, but also to inspire his students, Almendarez takes great pride in his position and all of the opportunities that it has given him.

Almendarez loves seeing how music can make a difference in people’s lives.

“I believe in and have seen the impact music can have on people, so I believe in the positive impact, and so for me playing but also teaching music to students is what I am passionate about.” 

Almendarez teaches orchestra at the high school and the middle school, and spends his weekends playing in community orchestra groups and private events.

“I like the fact that I have the best of both worlds, I get to perform and I get to teach. Working with young people teaching them to experience music. And even if they don’t play their whole life, hopefully music will play a part of their life somehow,” Almendarez said.

Music has played a very important role in Almendarez’s life, and he hopes to bring that passion to students here at Cumberland as well.

“I like the vision of the school and after talking with Mr. Schodowski, the fact that he is really trying to put an emphasis on the arts. The fact that we are getting this big, beautiful arts facility, shows a commitment to the arts and moving it forward and kind of becoming an art showcase in East Texas.”

As Almendarez works towards this goal, he also strives to inspire his students to do the same. 

“I try to motivate them everyday, but the biggest thing is to know that no matter what you’re trying to do in life, let no one get in your way.”