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Dear Professor Campbell

Dear Professor Campbell

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Published by Mitchell J Stokes

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Published by: Mitchell J Stokes on Nov 28, 2012
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12/04/2012

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Dear Professor Campbell,I am not sure if I can accurately describe myself in one letter, but if you promise to stick withme I can give it the good old “college try.” Firstly, let me start with the logistical matters. I am aneighteen year old incoming freshman at UNC Charlotte who plans onmajoring in music education, go forty-niners! I come from a lovingfamily that consists of my mother, father, brother; their names areWendy, Jess, and Nick respectively. Now there is a dog in the picture but instead of butt ugly, I'm going to go with... dumb as a rock.However, we still love her and think she is adorable! (Okay, this is justa side note. I love pictures so be prepared to peruse the many that I putin this letter! That one is of me and my parents at my graduation!)Alright, back to business. I am blessed to have three passions in mylife that have helped shape and grow me as a person. It is these threethings that I would like to elaborate on for the rest of my letter. Theyare church, children with special needs, and music!I have always gone to church. It has always been a major part of my life, even dating back tosome of my earliest memories (honestly, thats not saying much because those occur at 7 or 8...). Iwould say that church started playing a major role in my life about 5 or 6 years ago, simply because wehelped start a church. At our previous church, my family was very good friends with one of the senior  pastors and his family. My dad told him that if he wanted to start his own church, that we would back him and help in anyway that we could. After about a year, we began the process of starting our churchand we ended up housing our friends for three months as they sold their house and moved to Garner  North Carolina, as that would be where the church would be located. Now, besides giving up my room and my privacy for a few months, I bet that you are wonderingwhat a then twelve year old could possibly do to help starta church! Well, once the church actually started up, thekids of the church actually did quite a lot. When westarted the church there were four core families whichequaled eight adults and ten kids. This was the group of  people that was responsible for setting up and tearingdown every room of our church, every week, for about 3 years (fun fact:we had to do that because we met in a movie theater). Besides that, I also served in thechurch nursery/toddler room almost weekly and it has only been inthe past few years that I have been able to cut it back to about onetime a month. Honestly, this is a horrible description of everythingthat had to be done in order to get the church running, but it is the bestway that I could describe it.One amazing thing that came out of starting a church was howcrazy close all of the kids got. We were together all of the time, and we still are almost always together now! When we finally got a youth pastor, we were the core of the youth group which helped us to groweven closer if it was even possible. I have done so many fun things with my youth group, from justenjoying each others company to our annual summer youth retreat to CIY (Christ In Youth, a summer camp that I would love to go more in depth about but it would take me about five pages to do so) and
 
everything in between. I have made friends for life because of church and it was one of the hardestgoodbyes that I had to do. (Picture left: my youth group at CIY Summer 2011 Picture right: the guys of the youth group, my brother is in the white in the front row. I know, we look nothing alike.)I bet that you are wondering how an eighteen year old young man has a passion for childrenwith special needs! This is actually one of my newer passions, but it has changed me so rapidly that Iknew that I needed to tell you about it. That, and the fact that I cannot stop talking about it! In highschool, I was very involved in band (just wait for that paragraph, its gonna be a long one!) and I met avery good friend who worked with kids who had special needs and autism. Okay, fast forward to junior year where one of my friends asked me to come with him to help with him teach the special educationclass about music. I sort of reluctantly accepted his offer and went... Iwas hooked after thirty minutes. I think what got me the most is howloving the kids are after just meeting you! Anyways, I continued to gofor the rest of junior year and all of senior year. Right beforegraduation, I was really worried that I would not find a summer job,and I just so happened to run into my friend who had just recently been promoted to staff at her summer job, working with kidswith special needs and autism. I begged her to help me get a joband she put in my name with her supervisor and I waited. I wascrushed to hear a few days later that there were no more positionsopen for this summer and even more surprised when I wasemailed for a job interview a few days after that. It was toughodds, that were not in my favor (hope you got my hunger gamesreference! I am an avid reader of fiction, my favorites includingHarry Potter, Hunger Games, and The Inheritance Cycle byChristopher Paolini). I competedwith sixteen people for two job openings and after 4 days of not hearinganything I was feeling a little shafted because they had not even called.Turns out that my boss had lost my number and that I had gotten that job, Icould not believe it. What transpired from there has been extremely lifealtering. I met an awesome group of people (picture above) that I workedwith and I got to meet the most adorable, sweetest, loving kids in the entireworld. Over the course of the summer, they became MY kids and I wouldhave adopted any of them in the blink of an eye. Working at the YMCA atCamp GRACE was hands down one of the best experiences of my entirelife and I am definitely a better person because of it. Now, I could go on and on about this experience but I would not want to make you read ten more pages! Just know that though I got kicked, punched, bitten, etc. (results of the kids frustrations with not being able to communicate properly or easily) I couldnot have wished for a better summer job and Iconsider myself very lucky that I actually enjoyedgoing to work. (Sorry for the crazy photo spam of mykids but I told you, I love pictures!)
 
Alright, hold on tight because this is going to be a long one, are you ready? My passion for music started early, when I was about seven or eight years old. I began to play the piano and I reallyenjoyed it. Apparently I was a natural, not a prodigy, but a natural musician who really felt the music.Even though I do not remember that, it makes sense because that isexactly how I feel now. Unfortunately, because of a run in with a privatelesson teacher I did not like, I ended up quitting piano (something I regretmajorly) around the time that I was entering middle school band on theclarinet. My interest in music immediately shifted to band music and Iabsolutely loved it! I practiced a ton and was again told that I was anatural musician. I competed with other musicians for positions in varioushonor bands and that is where all of my hard work paid off. When it wastime for me to transition to high school, I was so excited because highschool meant marching band! I did not really know what I was gettingmyself into, but I was excitedfor it. Marching band was so different from middle school band but I loved it. Memorizing the music, my field position,and all of the moves and technique presented me with a newchallenge that was extremely different than just learning themusic for a concert. I auditioned for the top band at myschool and made it, not a very common thing for a freshman!This class band was so different from middle school band, because we were actually good and the music was actuallychallenging, I loved it! Now, I could continue to give you adetailed year by year account of my music history, but I do not want to do that to you (or my fingers!).So let us fast forward to the end of my sophomore year where I experienced my first musical failurethat did not just defeat me, but motivated me as well.Each marching band has a drummajor, the person who conducts the band,and from my first year of marching band Iwanted to be that person. So, at the end of my sophomore year I decided to try out for the position and boy was I far away fromgetting it. After putting so much time andenergy into practicing for the audition, I wasdefeated. However, as I continued onthrough my junior year, I never lost thatdesire to be the leader. I got an unexpectedopportunity to be a leader in my winter  percussion group (a competitiongroup that consists of percussioninstruments such as drums andmallet instruments, I played themarimba) and not only did I enjoy being the leader, but I absolutely fellin love with being the teacher. Beinga music education major had always been the plan for me, since middleschool, but this small taste of leadership and teaching left me

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