Jennifer Luft: A behind the scenes of EHS Orchestra teacher Jennifer Luft


Fabiana Centeno

When you walk into the orchestra and band room, you hear students struggling to tune their instruments, figuring out how to play that one measure; you see students who are passionate and create music. But what makes these students create music or should it be who helps them? Meet Jennifer Luft the orchestra teacher for East and Roosevelt who is passionate and full of positivity.
Growing up in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, Luft grew up surrounded by education due to her mother being a teacher. Her passion for music was inspired by her fourth-grade teacher who made her realize her love for music. Luft went to the University of Northern Iowa for her Bachelor’s degree in music and education. She moved to Des Moines, Iowa due to an engagement, later calling it off. East was her first teaching job and she’s been here ever since. “I’m proud of all my students, I want them to live to their full potential and to know it’s okay to work hard and be good at something,” Luft said. Luft has been a teacher for 22 years.
Luft began her career by working in an elementary school. Later she moved to middle school and high school. She’s even had the same students from elementary school all the way to high school. Throughout all her years being at East she’s made connections with many of her students.
“We’ve built a trust every year I have had her, I can talk to her about anything and there will be no judgment and she’s very accepting which I appreciate her for that,” senior Daren Nguyen said.
Luft believes that she is lucky to have her students for four years to build a connection and create a bond with students that are different from other teachers. Due to her love of the subject, she enjoys seeing students excited about learning a new song or seeing them put in the work and effort, to do so.
“She made my passion for music to enjoying and listening to classical music to learning to love my violin,” senior Naudya Chhuon said.
As an orchestra teacher she has learned to be more patient, flexible, goal striving and giving everyone a chance. Whether it be helping a student with a piece in music, learn notes or to even talk about something personal. Luft gives her students time. Many students feel they can talk to her about anything. There’s a lot of students that are close with Luft.
“She is the most underrated teacher at East. She’s like a second mom to all of us,” Chhuon said. Luft has had many memories at East with students and teachers. One is her husband, ,Mr.Luft, who she met at East. They have two children together, they are 15 and 10 years old. She has three step children from her husband’s previous marriage. During her free time, she plays her cello at church or events such as weddings. During the summer she loves to read and spend time with her family and traveling.
“She can live in lots of different worlds and thrive,” Director of Bands Joseph Thering said. Luft has inspired so many of her students. You can even see many of her former students coming back to visit her and talk about how their lives are. She’s the type of teacher that you can build an easy bond with.“She’s been there for me for many years and she’s a great person. She’s one of the best teachers at East,” sophomore Cua Vang said.