After 17 years as a music teacher at the Ohio State School for the Blind, Grandview resident Carol Agler will retire at the end of the school year.

After 17 years as a music teacher at the Ohio State School for the Blind, Grandview resident Carol Agler will retire at the end of the school year.

In addition to a curriculum of general, choral and adaptive music classes, Agler revived the school's long-dormant band program, eventually forming the school's marching band -- the only marching band of blind and visually impaired students in the country.

Her work with the band has earned it numerous accolades, including a Creative Use of Braille award from the American Printing House for the Blind, given for a marching band formation spelling out Ohio in Braille; and a National Citation from the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.

Additionally, the band has marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Lions Club International Parade and will participate in the 2015 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. The band also performs in festivals and events such as the Circleville Pumpkin Festival and the Millersport Sweet Corn Festival.

The band performed its Braille Ohio on the field at Ohio Stadium with the Ohio State University marching band as it performed its famous Script Ohio.

"It didn't take long for me to learn that these students could do anything sighted kids can do," Agler said.

Agler began her career in Circleville schools, leaving there after three years to raise her own family. During that time, she also performed as part of a local Appalachian folk duo, with which she participated in Artists-in-Schools programs. In the early 1990s, she was hired to start a music program at Marburn Academy, a Columbus school focused on teaching students with learning differences.

The extra training she received for that position, not to mention the experience, helped ready her for her next job at the school for the blind, where many students suffer not only from vision impairments but also learning or other disabilities.

Her blind students had much to teach Agler as well. Many of them, she said, have perfect pitch, which led her to develop alternate methods of teaching parts.

The group started as a pep band and jazz band, but took to the field in 2005 when Agler was approached by the Ohio State School for the Deaf to see if she had interest in being the band for that school's revived football team.

"Of course we jumped at the opportunity," Agler said.

The process was not without its struggles, she said, but she, along with the band and her team of marching assistants, applied the mantra, Improvise. Adapt. Overcome., to each new challenge. She also has had help in the form of Dan Kelley, who was her co-director for several years, and Jeff Schneider, who has helped create marching drills.

"One of the things we wanted to do was to raise expectations, not only of what the students could do but what other people could expect of them," she said.

Senior drummer Rae'Don Hayes said he will miss being in the band when he finishes school.

"(Agler) makes band fun. When I changed instruments, she really helped me out. Band taught me that I can do anything no matter what."

Sophomore Lalita Chanthapa echoed those sentiments.

"She taught me how to have faith in myself, and that if I practice, I can become a good player," she said.

Agler said she has a couple of special travel plans in store for her retirement, but added she hasn't really given her life after retirement much thought.

"I have a concert, the trip to Washington, D.C., the end of school and graduation before I'm finished," she said with a smile. "Plus, I'll need to get stuff ready for summer marching-band camp. And I will, of course, be coming back as a marching assistant and a band booster.

"There is plenty to do."