I know you haven't heard from me in a while.... a long while. Not too long ago I was reminded about how I used to play the violin and why did I give it up. Don't know, I guess I grew out of it. But the conversation made me instantly think of you. You believed in me so much when it came to playing the violin... coaching me to be a leader, mentoring me through the GHP auditions, preparing me to be 1st chair violin. The one memory in which I will never, ever forget is in 8th grade. Not sure what they called it, but I guess it was an 8th grade graduation. Each teacher had to pick an "outstanding student" for the year. I was for sure that you would pick Richard, but you picked me! You even called my mom to make sure to be there! I was so surprised and I told you that too. You said it wasn't about being the best player, it was just about being who I am. Thank you so much for that and everything else. Twenty-two years later and I remember that moment like yesterday. What you said made an impact on my life. I often forgot and would loose sight of being who I am, but I still remember and reminded through memory of you that being yourself is what it is all about. I hope you are still teaching, coaching and mentoring. I know your awesome encouragement is making some student's dim light a bright one.
Shannon Bryant (now Shannon Shaw)