Upper Darby teacher celebrates 50 years on the job

UPPER DARBY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Upper Darby High School is celebrating one of its teachers.

This is the 50th year Barbara Benglian is teaching music in district schools.

"It's changed - clearly the size of the school, the demographics are different, the diversity is different, but I think that's adding to what it is that I do every day that makes it just wonderful," Benglian told 6abc.

Our camera dropped in for a surprise visit to celebrate.

"Hi Channel 6, you're my favorite channel!" Benglian exclaimed.

Frankly, her reaction is a bit of a relief, when we learn she is known for her straight talk.

"I have a sign on my piano that says 'it's not mean, it's the truth', and I often think I use that as an exemplar for what the kids can do, but I always ask them to do better and to raise the bar every day," Benglian explained.

School District Superintendent Daniel McGarry added, "There's no reason why you can't raise the bar and have those expectations of people, it's how you do it. It's how demanding you can be and how loving and caring you can be, and she has cornered the market on that."

Students see Benglian is direct and dedicated, and they love her for it.

One of her students even gifted her with a sculpture of herself.

Senior Audrey Shaw remarked, "She has impacted so many lives by just being herself."

Senior Anthony Flamminio continued, "It's not just the job she's dedicated to, she's dedicated to all of us because she calls us her children, which means a lot to us."

Principal Kelley Simone has dubbed this year 'the Year of Benglian.'

"She teaches them how to be people. So the lessons that she teaches are not just about music, they're about life, and I think that's what makes her so special," Simone explained.

Mrs. Benglian grew up in Milbourne, Delaware County.

Music runs in her family.

"My father was a musician, and he also had a car repair place, and he would come home at night, change his clothes, and put on a tuxedo and play music, and he used that to support his three daughters," Benglian remembered.

So many years. So many lessons, but there's one in particular Mrs B. wants to make sure her students know.

"No one will ever take your place, but someone will stand where you once stood. And I want them to know that they are so capable of doing just as much as they've done in the classes, but more."

Congratulations on 50 years!
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