Students surprise retiring band director with a performance

ATHENS, Ala - The Clements High School band director got a big surprise Friday night that is going to help him end his career on a high note. Director Gary Russell is retiring this year.

As the marching band took the field, dozens of past students joined to give him an honorary send-off. It takes a lot of work to be a teacher and these students say Russell's passion and sense of humor make him one of the very best.

"I hope it shows him how many lives he's touched along the years. Every single one of us here, along with me, are here because Mr. Russell did something for them, just like he did for me, and we all had a blast together and it was the best time of our lives," former student Justin Gary said.

Russell hugged each student after they finished performing "Louie Louie" and the Clements High School fight song.

He has worked for the school for 20 years and students and faculty say even though he's leaving, his legacy has left an impression on the band that will last forever.