When I was in high school, I was fortunate to have an amazing mentor, teacher, and choir director in Mrs. Suzanne Callahan. She truly went above and beyond to support her students and give them as many opportunities as she could to experience the world. As I grew to understand my own desire to teach, I realized that a large part of that desire came from wanting to provide similar opportunities to the next generation of students. As a college student I was able to travel Europe on three occasions with the Ole Miss Concert Singers. As a young person from a rural area of Northeast Arkansas, those tours became the greatest educational experiences of my life.
Recently, I received a letter from an organization called Historic Programs inviting my students to perform in the closing commemoration ceremonies of the D-Day Invasion at Normandy. One of my college experiences was to this region of France. The incredible history of the place and the honor of the American sacrifice to save Europe from the Nazi’s is visible in the bomb craters that still litter the beaches and cliffs. It is evident in the bombed out remains of grand cathedrals. It is staggeringly viewed in the gravestones marking the final resting places of tens of thousands of American soldiers. And it is displayed by those who live in the region through their gratitude and hospitality to the Americans who visit. I will never forget my experience there. I truly changed my world view.
The invitation to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event is one of the proudest accomplishments of my career. It is my sincerest hope and my humblest mission to do everything I can to make this experience a reality for all of the students who have earned this honor. I am reaching out to you and your organization to request any assistance or support you may have to offer us to ensure we are able to meet our financial goals to ensure no one is left behind who has earned this honor.
Accompanying this letter you will find a flyer with additional information and details of ways to get involved. We would ask that you share this information with anyone who may be interested in learning more about our school, our choir, and the commemoration events. There are links to additional information online and contact information for anyone who would like to know more. We would also request to be considered for any monetary or in kind contribution you may offer to assist us as we work to raise over $145,000 to make the event financially feasible for our students. They have worked very hard to earn the opportunity to serve our nation and honor our veterans who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about any aspect of the trip, our school, or our vocal music program. The Vocal Music Department of Arlington High School thanks you for your time and consideration. We appreciate the support of our greater community and wish you and your organization the best.
How to help