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Working hard and enjoying life: Crystal Arbuckle

By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Crystal Arbuckle

Photo of Crystal Arbuckle

Crystal Arbuckle is in her element as Cresthill Middle School’s choir teacher. She has a passion for music and thrives teaching and interacting with young teens. The 2020-2021 school year is Arbuckle’s second as a Cougar.

Castle Pines resident Crystal Arbuckle is no stranger to hard work and persistence. The mother of four children, she grew up in a large entrepreneurial family in eastern Oregon, near the Idaho border. The family business was Fry-Bake Shoppe, a bakery in the small farming community of Ontario. All seven children worked alongside their parents to help support the family.

Witnessing the hard work of her parents, Arbuckle was influenced to do the same in her own life. Her dad would wake at 1:15 a.m. and work until 3:00 p.m., take a nap until dinner time, then catch a few more hours sleep before he started again.

“I was really inspired to see how hard my parents worked at the bakery. I learned how to be a strong, independent woman by watching my mom do everything else for the family. They were two of the hardest working people I know,” said Arbuckle.

Arbuckle deferred her college education when she was newly married because her husband Justin’s education required them to move a lot. Later, after the Arbuckle children were in school themselves, Crystal enrolled at Metropolitan State University and graduated summa cum laude in 2018 with an emphasis in classical piano and choral conducting.

“It was definitely difficult juggling four kids and going to school full time, but I had to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a middle school choir teacher,” Arbuckle said of her college experience.

Photo of the Arbuckle family

The Arbuckle family works and plays hard, enjoying all the sunshine, mountains, adventure and endless opportunities that our community and state provides.

Arbuckle knew when she herself was in middle school that she wanted to teach middle school choir when she grew up. “I love helping students find joy in their journey through music. Being part of a choir gives students the sense of belonging and provides them a safe place to be themselves while going through the awkward and difficult years of middle school.”

Arbuckle applies her hard-won grit every day at Cresthill Middle School. “Trying to teach choir in 2020 has been one of the most challenging obstacles I have ever faced. I continue to give my students 100%, but it definitely takes so much out of me.”

When not at school, Arbuckle can be found playing the piano or singing in choirs. She enjoys the outdoor adventures of living in Colorado, especially hiking, running and cycling, as well as spending time with family and friends and cooking and eating delicious food.



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