MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A former Whitehaven High School student reflects on his memories of Andre Newsom, the band director who died this weekend.

Newsom and the Whitehaven High School “Sounds Of Perfection” Band was in Atlanta, Georgia for a band trip when he passed away.

Former student Zerius Zontay says Newsom helped him become the man he is today.

“It’s very heavy on my heart and I’ve been crying all day about it,” Zontay said. “He was a giant in the band world. Anytime Andre Newsom walked into the room you knew it was going to be a good day because he’s an uplifter.”

Zontay says Newsom forever impacted his life, inspiring him to follow in his footsteps and become a band director at two different schools. “He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” Zontay said.

Over the years, Newsom made an impact on hundreds of lives, especially his students.

“He didn’t view the students that came through his classroom or came through the band program, he didn’t view them simply as students,” Zontay said. “He saw each, individual child and he spoke to each individual person.”

Newsom instilled daily affirmations about the importance of dedication, desire, and discipline in life and not just when it came to music.

“His legacy is his students because those things that we learned in the band room you know we apply it to our daily lives,” Zontay said.

Newsom was also a father and a graduate of Tennessee State University.

A cause of death has yet to be released.