Be Excellent: Todd Berridge

Updated: Jan. 18, 2023 at 6:00 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Throughout the halls of Permian High School echo the sounds of a well-oiled machine, known as the Permian High School Orchestra.

“This is the best part of my day, is that I come in and see the kids,” said Todd Berridge, Permian High School’s Orchestra Director.

Mr. Berridge has been the Orchestra Director at Permian for 15 years.

But his history with ‘Mojo’ goes back even further to his time there as a student.

“I bleed black and white, always have, always will,” said Berridge.

Looking back to when he first was hired at Ector County ISD as Permian’s Orchestra Director, he knew he was in the right place.

“My drive was to be at my Alma Mater when I first got here 15 years ago. I was asked to come here and interview and got the job. Being at the place where I graduated from, being where I was in orchestra, my drive was to make the group better than it was,” Berridge explains.

His passion isn’t just for music, but also for his students.

“As I come in, I see the kids. If I’m feeling low, I look at [their] faces, and they just kind of remind me of what we do. It’s fantastic,” said Berridge.

Berridge’s success in guiding students through orchestra over four years shows in the accolades achieved under his leadership.

“I want them to feel that success. I may have led them at some point but being a part of the machine, being a part of the cog, being part of the Permian Panther mystique. Yes, it’s fun. But I want the kids to experience it as me being the orchestrator of the events so to speak,” Berridge explains.

As the students move on from Permian after graduation, Mr. Berridge hopes that he left an impact on them through music.

“We want them to look back on their musical career in high school as a springboard into something more,” Berridge said.

One of Mr. Berridge’s former students, Ethan Ward, has become the Associate Orchestra Director at PHS.

“Mr. Berridge is just full of knowledge and is very free to give it. I am so very lucky to have him as a mentor,” Ward said.

As Mr. Ward teaches his students in the very room he once sat in a few years ago, he works to uphold the legacy Mr. Berridge has built.

“They’re quite big shoes to fill. I am very lucky to be here. I kind of have a step up above everybody else because I know the traditions. I am an alumnus here, so I know what Friday night lights are and I know how to instill that in our students,” Ward explains.

Speaking of Friday Night Lights, Mr. Berridge has his hand in that too.

Berridge said, “I’m out at Ratliff, I’m the public address announcer for the football games and some of the other sports that happen during the Spring semester.”

That’s right, the voice you hear from the stands at your quintessential Friday night football game at Ratliff Stadium is that of Mr. Berridge!

He says that his time in front of the microphone at Ratliff is some of his favorite moments.

“Especially when you have 20,000 people out there, half the stadium is red, half the stadium is black, and people are just screaming their hearts out. That is so much fun,” Berridge explains.

From the gridiron to the orchestra hall, Berridge understands just how much work his students put in and wants to see them shine.

Berridge said, “The work that they do day in, and day out is just as important as the work they do on the field, on the diamond, on the court. These kids deserve that type of recognition.”

Which is one of the reasons he is a favorite among the Panthers.

“He’s a great guy, he loves what he does. You can tell he loves what he does because of the success that the program has had and just by how many students speak so highly of Mr. Berridge,” said Ward.

Todd Berridge was awarded $500 from CBS7 and Excel ER Odessa Emergency Room.