TAMPA, Fla. — Everyone calls her "Mrs. Chick."
And soon they might call her "a Grammy winner," too.
Ernesta "Mrs. Chick" Chicklowski is a music teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School. She also runs the Studio of South Tampa, home of the coolest school of rock around.
This music-education superstar, a grad of both Florida State and USF, is skilled in many instruments. But for her, teaching young people is about much more than carrying a tune.
"I want to use music as a creative tool just to get them to communicate, with me, with each other," she said. "I want to help them learn not just to like themselves, but to love themselves."
Caring, empathetic philosophies like this are what led an anonymous fan of hers to submit her name for the Grammy's Music Educator Award, aka the Best Music Teacher in America.
She had no idea.
"And then one day, I open an email that says I've been selected, and wow," she said smiling.
Her students call her "the happiest person ever," but what many of them don't know is that their favorite teacher is battling multiple sclerosis, a relatively recent diagnosis.
But one guess as to who's winning that battle.
"It kind of affected my groove a little bit, but it hasn't got me down," she said. "I've bolstered myself with the great people around me."
Mrs. Chick will find out if she won the Grammy award for Music Educator this September.