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Student: Environment in which everyone could succeed and grow in the classroom and larger community

This short essay was written by a band member alum for a grad application, illustrating the lifelong impact of the Mercer Island band program.

"The most impactful educators in my personal development have been those who teach beyond their area of expertise, creating learning environments that are collaborative, inviting of diversity, and conducive to student growth as members of a broader community. My high school band director was particularly skilled at cultivating such environments. He provided ample leadership opportunities to students of all backgrounds and skill sets and emphasized the importance of developing a strong band community and culture both inside and outside the classroom. These leadership opportunities ranged from elected to appointed and public to administrative, thereby catering to a wide range of personality types and comfort levels. By creating opportunities for all students to grow their confidence as musicians, community members, and leaders, our director constructed an environment in which everyone could succeed and grow both in the classroom and the larger band community. Now, as I look forward to a career in academia where I will teach and mentor students, I hope to create a similar learning environment for my future students. In my current precepting position, I work to cultivate an office hours environment where students are encouraged to celebrate and share their individual skills by working together to solve challenging problems. This supportive and collaborative environment grows their confidence as mathematicians and members of the college community. My experiences in communities such as my high school band have significantly impacted my skills as a leader and my values and goals as I prepare for my future career in academia."

~ Paige Robertson, Class of 2018

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