Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

HHS senior attends state conference

As a second-grade student at Central School, Katia Schmitt decided she wanted to be a singer. And, later that year, she fittingly performed “The Boogie Woogie Piano Teachin’ Man” in the school’s production of “It’s Saturday!”

Today Schmitt is preparing to pursue a career in music education. She was selected by the Illinois Music Education Association to attend the IMEA Conference in Peoria held in late January.

Students were selected after district auditions. Schmitt was the only student chosen from Harvard High School this year. Her vocal audition earned her a spot in the conference, where she and fellow students worked with two current music educators as mentors throughout the four-day event.

“I’ve always loved to sing,” Schmitt said. “My range is from alto II to soprano I.”

Schmitt, a senior at HHS, credits her freshman year choir teacher Clarisse O’Rourke for helping her determine that she wanted to do something with music in the future and her band instructor, Korey Coffer, for cementing the idea of teaching in her heart.

“When I watch how students react to Mr. Coffer, and I see how students trust him, it was so clear to me that there is a special relationship between a music teacher and their students. It would be a great responsibility to help others learn to love music,” she said.

Schmitt is set to attend VanderCook College of Music in Chicago to pursue a career in music education. She is looking forward to making music with other students who really want to make music – who are there because they love their instruments.

Being chosen to attend the conference gave Schmitt an opportunity to walk side-by-side with current music educators and get a better idea of what it takes to be a music educator.

“We attended clinics with current teachers and were able to ask them questions and listen to the same discussions they were having. It was a great opportunity to see that,” she said.

In addition to attending clinics during the conference, she also attended rehearsals for the IMEA band with the visiting conductor. She was inspired watching everyone work together.

Schmitt determined that an experience like the IMEA Conference was very helpful in confirming she is on the right path. “It was great to be able to see the other teachers be so passionate about what they do. It was inspirational, really,” she said.

Schmitt soon will be taking on the role of Dorothy in “The Whiz” to be performed in April at HHS.

“My parents have been so supportive. I have given up a lot to pursue music … and, through it all, they have never questioned me. … I also have never been forced to do any aspect of music. It has all been because I wanted to do it – and I think that has been important,” she said.

Schmitt is excited to continue the dream of that little girl who looked up to former Harvard School District 50 teacher Jo Carbonetti, her first music teacher. She will continue her education to become a music teacher herself and, she said, “to hopefully inspire others as my music teachers have inspired me.”