Heath Miller and the Watkins "Thunder Machine" | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Heath Miller and the Watkins "Thunder Machine"

Before he was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting students last year, Heath Miller was one of the most popular teachers at H.L. Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens. More than 400 students enrolled in the band, chorus, and drill team, traveling to Fort Pierce and Orlando, winning music competitions in and out of the state.

Back in Palm Beach Gardens, Miller also organized "lock-ins" -- all night, chaperoned parties that gave the kids a chance to show off their musical skills.

This video, from one of those parties, shows the kids in the drum line, known as the "Thunder Machine," acting like rock stars. Forget the geeks from band camp. These kids had confidence and serious skill, and they attributed much of their success to Miller.

"He always encouraged us," says one 15-year-old former Watkins drill team member. "We were all really close with him."