Citizen Spotlight: Tim Harlan

Each week we select a citizen (or citizens) from Excelsior Springs and highlight the positive impact they are having on our community. Click here to nominate someone for the Citizen Spotlight!

Tim Harlan is an ever-present fixture at ESHS student activities, seen here with his trusty camera. (Photo by Amy Jeffers, courtesy of Mr. Harlan).

For more than 20 years Tim Harlan has served as the choir director for Excelsior Springs High School. Over the years the countless concerts and events he’s led have inspired and brightened the community of Excelsior Springs. A cheerful and thoughtful individual, Harlan supports all of the students at ESHS. He attends dozens of sporting events and activities each semester sharing his enthusiasm and encouragement with everyone he sees. While at events he utilizes his love for photography to help capture memories for students, parents, and the school district.

Harlan shares his photography on his Facebook Page, Harlan’s ESHS Activity Shots.

When asked how many events he attends he humbly replied, “I don’t really keep track, If it’s a home game I usually try to go to it… I think it’s a way to show the kids they’re appreciated, and to get them pictures they normally wouldn’t get to see and to share with parents who can’t get the close-ups that I do.” Harlan says he decided to use Facebook as his platform just because of the ease of use, being able to create albums, tagging individuals, and allowing them to share the photos.

A video posted on ESHS Facebook Page shows Harlan’s Pop Choir Class in action.

Harlan says he’s proud of the many musical productions and different ensemble performances he and the students have put on. He says it’s more about the fun the students have and the hard hard work they put in, “we may not always get the top ratings but I’m always proud of their performances,” he said, with pride in his voice.

Parents, students, and colleagues sang Mr. Harlan’s Praises:

Marie Mawby, who nominated Harlan said she chose him because

He is the most caring ‘hype man’ that ESHS has. Not only does he have numerous choirs where he helps to cultivate the magic of music in his students, but he is also an ever-present encouragement to all of the extracurricular activities that ESHS has. From taking pictures, fist bumps, & encouraging words, he is PRESENT because he truly cares and that means the world to his students. Present ones and past like me. I’m team Harlan 110%!

Colleague Mark Lawley posted a favorite quote from Mr. Harlan:

My time in the hallway, or in the lunchroom, or walking through a sports team’s practice, or interacting with the student section at an event, is focused and vital and important time. Five seconds of attention and a fist bump or a pet nickname can be the most impactful thing I do all day. Even if a student never crosses the threshold of the choir room, I can add value to their day! Our time is finite and precious. We should cherish it. But remember that any time spent building a relationship with any student in your building is never wasted.

Mr. Harlan said his only advice for the students and residents of Excelsior Springs would be “keep doing your best to succeed at whatever you have a passion for!” We’d say that’s good advice, from a man who has clearly followed his passion.

Harlan says aside from teaching he loves hiking and visiting National Parks across the United States. (submitted photo).

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