Music leads Justin Bromm back to the Classroom

Music leads Justin Bromm back to the Classroom

Justin Bromm knows that sometimes your best-laid plans do not work out. But, for Bromm, the journey he took to be where he is right now has paid off in the smiles and in the joy of hundreds of children at Scott County School District 2.

“When I got the callback, I was very excited, and even more so once I started working with the children,” said Bromm, who is the elementary music aide for the four schools at SCSD2. “I fell in love with the job the first week.”

Before he became the elementary music aide and working alongside teacher Jena Hudson, Bromm had different plans for his life. His plan was to work in nuclear medicine technology.

“During middle school, I wanted to be a teacher. Starting high school, I wanted something more high tech, and my junior year, I found what I thought was my dream job, nuclear medicine technology. I set out from high school to pursue that career,” Bromm said. “I spent two years at [Indiana University Southeast], then transferred to [Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis] and was one of seven to get into the nuclear medicine program. I graduate the program with my bachelor’s degree.”

After college, Bromm applied for several jobs in Indiana and its surrounding states, but he was continually told he was overqualified.

“The only time I heard anything back was to say I was ‘overqualified’ and ‘they only wanted someone with an associate [degree] because they could not pay a bachelor’s [degree] wages.’ Yes. They literally said that to me,” Bromm said.

Discouraged, Bromm did not know what to do. He had a bachelor’s degree in his dream field and a past in music that his parents helped forge throughout his childhood.

“My parents inspired my music career since I was a baby,” Bromm said. “Ever since I was old enough to sit on my own, I sat [with] my mom on her piano bench and banged on the keys while she practiced. I started piano lessons at the age of 8, and then, started with Mrs. [Annette] Egeberg around the time of third grade. She trained me not only to play the piano but to sing with it.”

From piano, Bromm transitioned into the middle school band in the sixth grade. He began playing percussion instruments. In the seventh grade, Bromm said he was asked to join and help the high school marching band. He was in the band until he graduated high school.

Thinking of his past, Bromm’s mother encouraged him to return to music and apply for a job opening at Scott 2.

“I applied and went to the interview and made it clear that I would continue to seek employment in the nuclear field,” Bromm said. “Shortly after [starting at Scott 2], I remembered a recurring dream I had been having, where I was back in high school, and even though I graduated college, my high school counselor told me that there was a problem with my credits, and I had to spend another two years in high school to make my high school degree valid. I took this as a sign from God I was to stay here for two years and let him bring a job to me.”

After his recurring dream, Bromm stopped looking for jobs in nuclear medicine technology. Technologists in the field use a scanner to take images of a patient’s body, so physicians can make better a diagnosis and know how to better care for patients. The decision to stop looking for another job paid off.

“After the first year, I was granted full-time and allowed to work at all four schools,” Bromm said. “I’m now on my third year, and the dream has not seemed to come to anything, but that may be a good thing. Although there are some days I feel like pulling my hair out, I love all the children, and enjoy the job I get to do.”

Even though Bromm had plans to work in nuclear medicine technology when he was a student at Scottsburg High School, another dream — to be a teacher — from his time at Scottsburg Middle School came true.

“I have changed so much personally in the past three years, and I thank the kids for that change. I remember hearing teachers saying as I grew up that ‘you learn as much from your students as they do from you,’ and I believe that is true,” Bromm said.

While Bromm’s first choice in a career did not go as exactly as he planned, Bromm’s decision to return to music and teach a new generation of students what it means to love music. At Scott 2, Bromm’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.