Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss), at age 60, loses his job teaching music at JFK High School due to the school's music program being a victim of funding cuts. On his last day, his wife and son lead him to the gymnasium, where he finds a "goodbye" assembly has been arranged for him, with new and old students he taught as well as other people who call him friend in attendance.
He is praised for making a difference in a lot of people's lives, and is then brought up on stage to conduct the "American Symphony," the music piece he had spent almost his whole professional life writing, with new and old students he taught making up the band.
The piece, and Glenn, both receive a standing ovation at the end.
Thanks Tornado Dragon!