Retired Zavalla teacher plays graduation theme for 40-plus years

ZAVALLA, TX (KTRE) - One woman is continuing a 40 year graduation tradition at Zavalla High School. Melba Pouland said she will never get tired of playing the infamous graduation theme on her piano.

It's a song we're all familiar with this time of the year. Pomp and circumstance has become a favorite for Pouland.

"Its tradition and it just fills my heart. I love music; I always have. It tells me about good times that we've had and that they're going to have; and it makes me happy," Pouland said.

The retired teacher has been playing the theme for the past 40 years at each Zavalla High School graduation.

"There's no way we would do away with tradition and we like to say tradition never graduates; Mrs. Pouland won't graduate," said Zavalla ISD Superintendent David Flowers. "We're going to keep her here."

The high school staff said they don't plan to switch over to the CD version anytime soon.

"That's a great feeling. I hope we get 40 more years," said Zavalla High School Principal Ricky Oliver.

Pouland and 30 graduating seniors spent Friday morning rehearsing for graduation.

"The graduates remember it. Teachers that are here that graduated from here when they were students remember her playing it," Flowers said.

Pouland was Oliver's second grade teacher about 30 years ago.

"She was a very, very good teacher; one the best," Oliver said.

Now that Oliver is the principal at Zavalla High School he's hoping to keep this tradition going as long as possible.

"Oh, I love it. I wouldn't miss it for anything," Pouland said. "I love the children, and the young men and women now; but they were children when I had them in second grade."

The 74-year-old said being asked to play the graduation theme each year is a thrill. She plans to continue the tradition she started 40 years ago.

"I will play as long as they ask me and my fingers will move," Pouland said.

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