Effingham Daily News
Friends and associates of the late Carolyn "Miss D" Domineck remember her as the shining example of an educator, mentor and friend to the thousands of students she directed as the band director at Newton Community High School.
"She was a lady that inspired you to have confidence in yourself with hard work and perseverance," said Katina Raft, a former band member. "She made you think you could do anything you set your mind to."
Domineck, who died Tuesday at age 70, was born in 1942 and was the first female member of the Marching Salukis when she attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She was also one of the first female band directors in Illinois.
Domineck became a band director at Newton Grade School in 1971, where she began a band of 40 students. She would move onto the high school in 1974. Some students played under her direction at both schools.
"I remember her taking us up to play in Champaign," said Raymond Reynolds, a former band member who played for Domineck in grade school from 1972 to 1974 and again in high school from 1976 to 1980. "Most of us were scared to step onto that U of I field but she was confident we could do it."
In her service, Domineck was remembered as being the rock of Newton's band program.
"She was an iconic educator who touched the lives of thousands of students," said Jasper County Superintendent Dan Cox. "We have a very strong band tradition here and she's the foundation of that tradition."
That tradition turned the Newton band from a small group of 40 to a 240-person band under Domineck. One of her fondest memories was taking the Newton Marching Eagles to perform at the Rose Bowl Parade in 1984. Raft said Domineck was able to get the best from her students by treating them as she would her family.
"(The band) meant something to people and it meant something to this community," she said. "Miss D was an only child; she didn't marry and she didn't have kids. You'd think she maybe didn't have a family but she had more family than anyone could ever have. She always said if you gave your best, you were at your best."
Raft said Domineck's impact as a teacher and as a band director is something that has shaped her life, as well as the lives of many other students.
"She was a tremendous lady," she said. "There are teachers that teach because that's what they do, they teach. Then there are teachers that teach because they want to shape kids and she was one of those ladies."
Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or firstname.lastname@example.org.