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Life at Sonoma State University – Fulfilling a Love of Music

April 22, 2011

by Ann Kenney (Dublin High Class of 2010, Sonoma State Freshman)

Finishing the first semester of college with a 3.7 GPA would be considered an accomplishment by most people, and I put up no argument there. Walking away from a fifteen unit semester, including a math class, which is not my best subject, with a grade point average higher than the average first year college student, made me truly appreciate all the work I did throughout high school. My first fall semester at college was not always a walk in the park, but I felt that the intensity of my high school curriculum prepared me to enter college, ready for anything. While my schedule in high school wasn’t littered with advanced placement and honors classes, I was able to take a few classes that I was interested in, while being enrolled in band and being a member of the swim team. My high school experience adequately prepared me for college because of all the challenges that Dublin High presented.

Throughout my years at Dublin High School, I struggled; high school was definitely a difficult stage in my life. Sometimes I would come home from one of my days and think to myself, am I doing too much? Due to swim practice and band my normal 12+ hour day would start at five in the morning and end at 5:30 in the evening or later, but of course I squeezed academics in there as well. It was when I was at my lowest that the teachers at Dublin High School were there for me. Teachers are not required to be there for their students. They get paid to bring the materials to the kids and hope that it sticks, but the teachers at Dublin High School, at least the ones that I had, were always looking to help in any way they could, even if that meant giving up their lunch or staying for an hour after school.

Mrs. Cunningham and Mrs. Baumann were definitely there for me throughout my high school years. When I was struggling to keep my grade up in physics, Mrs. Baumann (who had been my chemistry teacher the year before) was there for me. When I needed to know if I had made the right choice about taking physics in my junior year, Mrs. Baumann advised me that it was good to have a challenge, and that she knew I could do it. It wasn’t much but it was all I needed: Mrs. Baumannn inspired me to buckle down and take on physics. I might not have walked out with the highest grade, but I was able to say that I worked hard in that class and was very proud of my final result.

Mrs. Cunningham helped throughout my years in high school, but I think that the help she gave me during my college application process is what stands out the most. I could bring any essay I needed to have reviewed to her and she would always have suggestions that would take the paper from good to great. There was also Mrs. Rubio, my counselor, without whom I don’t think I would be enrolled in a four-year college. After I didn’t get into my dream college, she called me into her office the next day with a list of around twenty colleges that were still accepting applications. There aren’t too many people who would take personal time – at night – when I had emailed after getting the news about not getting into college, and find not a couple but every college in the country that was still accepting applications.

All of these wonderful people did something or were outstanding during my time in high school, but there is always that one teacher that stands out above the rest for a student. No teacher stood out more to me than my band teacher, Mr. Everts. When you walk into Mr. Everts’ classroom, you are not just taught the curriculum, but given a life lesson. I always knew I could walk into the band room and no matter what my problems were, or how bad my day had been, all of that would go away. Mr. Everts would have some words of wisdom that pertained to my situation. I believe that it was because of band that I was able to handle the schedule that I had in high school. Dublin High gave me the schedule that I needed to prepare me for college, but band gave me the ability to learn how to handle the stress.

I currently attend Sonoma State University and this semester I am enrolled in eleven classes covering seventeen units. I am majoring in music education with the hope of becoming a band director. I ultimately want to end up back at Dublin High School teaching music.

So as I sit here eating pretzels, writing this article in Mr. Everts’ office admiring the many accomplishments displayed on his wall, I see the next challenge that Dublin High School has given me, to become the next great music teacher.

At the Dublin High School 2010 Senior Awards Night Ann was recognized as the Rotary Student of the Month for March 2010 and was awarded the Dublin High Irish Guard Band Boosters Scholarship and the United States Marine Corp Semper Fidelis Award for Musical Excellence.

Other articles in the Life in College series:

Related article: Private Music Lessons for Students: Frequently Asked Questions Answered.

Ann Kenney (third from left) with Academic Study Group