Write an essay where you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to become a teacher.

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was very young. It was a very difficult time for me. School was rough for me because i could not sit still, pay attention or focus. I was the “odd” kid, therefore was extremely introverted. Most doctors i saw wanted me to be medicated. My parents did not agree. Medication would only mask the condition, not teach me to manage it. One behavioral specialist taught me coping mechanisms including visualization and breathing techniques. Once during a session, I felt the “crazies” coming on. There was music playing in the office and he noticed me tapping along with the tune. The doctor turned the music down and told me to continue the song in my head. The tapping slowed down along with my breathing. It worked and i was able have control and focus through an episode. My teachers at school noticed a huge change in my behavior and were very patient with me through this difficult time. I will always be grateful for that.

I learned to love music enjoying all the different genres. I learned piano and guitar but most of all I loved to sing. Being very introverted, I wanted so desperately to be involved with all the music programs in school I found it safer being behind the scenes. Through stage crew, I was able to be a part of with all the music and drama productions from a distance. In high school, my friends and i had a terrific young choral director. She had fresh new ideas for music pieces and theater productions. Everyone loved her!

One day, I was backstage with a project and she overheard me singing softly as I often did. She told me to turn up the volume. I was embarrassed so we went into one of the practice rooms. The school was producing “Grease” that year, so I performed a song from the show. After hearing me, she asked me to audition for the show. I agreed to audition thinking I would be emsemble...I was casted as Danny! I guess I just needed someone to help me find my voice?

She pushed me to step outside my comfort zone and we practiced constantly. She wanted me to be a part of every different choir at school. My favorite was the a capella group. She trained me for all the upcoming choral competitions. The last three years, I placed in the top ten for the Tenor II category at the PMEA all-state choir festival.

This experience helped me to carve the path to my future and I knew I wanted to become a high school music teacher. My hero found me behind the curtain and brought me out front. She made me understand my talent and all I have to contribute to the music program.
I want to pay this forward.

Last fall, I began this journey. I completed my first semester of the music education program and I aspire to teach at the high school level. I hope one day to inspire one of my students to write a scholarship essay about me!

JOSEPH from Pennsylvania
College Freshman
Westminster choir college at Rider University