By Madelyn Montgomery
Class of 2018 graduates Joy Etheridge, Natalie Beaty, Luke Roberson, Laura Sellers and Lexi Stinson conquered their four years at Reinhardt University hand in hand while making their dreams of being music teachers come true.
Even before graduation, they knew where they were headed after they had their hard-earned degrees in hand. These students have had the opportunity to work under professors that challenged, pushed and prepared them to become better musicians and teachers. They credit their success, in part, to the support they received while at Reinhardt.
“These four really inspired me to be at my best in all circumstances, and I am so lucky to have had them by my side since the very beginning of freshman year,” said Roberson. “It feels like a dream come true to have them still by my side as we begin our teaching careers.”
When the group of five arrived to Reinhardt, a new energy and determination was added to the music program as they reset the bar and aimed for success not only for themselves, but for others, encouraging and pushing those around them to be better too.
While many people helped along the way, Dr. Martha Shaw was a standout for these five and made a lasting impact on how they teach, conduct and care for others.
“I think the thing that thrills me is that they buy into the concept that they are not only training musicians, but are educating people and developing character,” said Shaw, professor of music and director of choral activities. “We’re building great human beings at the same time that we are building great musicians, and these students promote and believe in the concept of family, and they create a place where we all belong.”
Shaw attributes the success of these students to their personalities and pursuit of excellence, but also to the fantastic music faculty at Reinhardt. Dr. Melissa Arasi, assistant professor of music education, and Dr. Daniel Kirk, director of instrumental activities and wind ensemble conductor, arrived at Reinhardt and continued to add energy and high expectations to increase the caliber of the music education program.
“Dr. Arasi made an enormous impact on my life through her techniques and advice, and Dr. Kirk’s professionalism, precision, attention to detail and all-around genius was infectious,” said Etheridge. “They really helped prepare me for what I would face in the classroom.”
Etheridge will be teaching at Centerville Elementary, Beaty at North Forsyth Middle, Roberson at Howard High, Sellers at Cass Middle and Stinson at Houston County High.