Golden Apple Award: Hardy Elementary Sarah Tortora


CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – Music has to power transform us. It’s a subject that Sarah Tortora is passionate about. She shares that passion with more than 400 students at Hardy Elementary.

Robin Bambrey is the Principal at Hardy.

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She says, “Miss Tortora is our music teacher here at Hardy elementary school. She serves all of our students, pre-K through fifth grade. She is the most fantastic music teacher, and we are blessed to have her. She spends so much time and energy into the kids and getting them to just love and enjoy music.”

When asked to describe herself, Sarah says, “I’m a K through five music teacher. I’ve graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and I have spent the last three years at Hardy elementary school. I love my job. I love teaching. I don’t think I’d be the teacher I am today without the kids that are here at Hardy.”

Luanda Harrold is a third grade teacher at Hardy.

About Ms. Tortora,  she says, “She is awesome! I love coming to her classroom just to talk to her in the morning time, or before school starts; just to see the engagements that kids have. She turns her classroom into a ocean underwater. I mean it is just amazing. Everything she does with her kids and she makes music fun.”

Sarah concludes, “Probably the fun and the joy that I feel that I am able to express with the kids, both for me and for what they give to me is probably the best part of my job, no matter what stage we are in or what ever we are doing, there is always joy to be had, and fun to be had in our classroom. I see them and a lot of different places. I’ve been able to see certain kids overcome obstacles and raise up, and I think moving forward, I will see these kids at universities. I will see these kids in our community having leadership positions, working on things that are their passion, and I think they are starting to see that they can achieve anything they want to. And I expect good things from these kids.



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Andrew Harrison is happy to be back home! He grew up in Chattanooga and is a proud graduate of East Brainerd Elementary and McCallie School. He is a longtime member of St. Martin's Episcopal Church. Andrew started as a studio camera operator at WTVC in Chattanooga, and has 25 years of experience in television. He's worked as photographer, producer, reporter and anchor. Andrew spent the last 20 years in Mississippi, the last 7 anchoring the morning news in Jackson. It's a dynamic market, with no shortage of news, but Andrew is a Tennessean at heart. He's won numerous AP awards for reporting, including Best Franchise for Large Market Mississippi Stations. He was voted the Mississippi Delta's Favorite News Personality. (in 2008) Andrew is a devoted husband and father of two. His wife, Tonya is also from Tennessee. He's a big Titans, Grizzlies and Predators fan, and when it comes to baseball, the Braves will always be number one. You can e-mail him at