Why I spend so much time writing reference letters, making recommendations and encouraging scholarship-worthy resumes.

I recently wrote my first official scholarship/college oriented recommendation letter for the 2011-12 school year. I wrote about it in an article called, “How Do You Look On Paper?” <=====click to read

Most of the time, I give students copies of the letters I write — and then offer to personalize them for future or specific scholarships, jobs or college. I’m not looking for a pat on the back, but let me tell you WHY I spend so much time doing that?

As one of five children, raised through high school by a significantly physically handicapped single-mom who was unable to do many normal jobs, I attended an inner-city school.  We had no money for better instruments, private lessons, summer camps or college, and yet, I got a top of the line clarinet, had the best clarinet teacher in Northern Kentucky, went to two summer camps ever year, got to travel Europe and the U.S.S.R. with a music ensemble between high school and college, and had enough scholarship help in college that I was able to buy my first car in time for student teaching in senior year.  All of that happened because, when I needed help, people went to bat for me.

My band director convinced the most expensive clarinet teacher in the area to take me on as a student — and to create a way for me to work for my lessons. The two of them inspired me to find a way to earn the money to buy a great clarinet. They contacted universities that had summer music camps and convinced them to invest in me. And then, they helped me get into and pay for college. No one in my family had been to college and no one knew anything about how all that worked.

THEY did it for me ….. and NOW IT IS MY TURN……. and some day, IT WILL BE YOUR TURN!

I wrote about my mentors in an article called “Four Influential Men”. <====click to read. Maybe…..just maybe….. I can be one of those people in the lives of my students. That’s why!


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