Here's the local write-up about the Vitelli Scholarship:
A lot of you know that this past year has been really tough for me. Senior year is always tough on everyone and I suppose I'm no exception in that regard, especially with this year's "baby boomlet" in the college arena (particularly in music) as well as my early graduation- being a year or two younger than your competitors makes a big difference! I was really stressed getting ready for college auditions this fall and had a long and difficult college audition "tour" in the winter. I was really disappointed to receive rejection letters from seven of the nine universities to which I applied in the spring and hard-pressed financially to make ends meet at my university of choice and unable to get a summer job in Florida due to the current recessions and the typical economic lethargy we in a vacation-zone experience during the "off-season". Needless to say, I wasn't expecting the year to end any better than it had already progressed. But I have been very pleasantly surprised.
After frantic phone calls and with only two days to spare I finally did make my college decision: I have officially enrolled at Case Western Reserve University as a music performance major with hopes of being selected as a candidate for a music education degree as well by the end of my first year. It was a decision long in the making and it was a gamble, but I'm very confident I made the right choice. I've made contact with several violin teachers (who I will actually study with remains to be determined by the appropriate authorities), the music education director, and the head of the music department and my new room mate- a Croatian Biochemistry major on the pre-med track- and I have hit it off splendidly through email. So things really couldn't be going better in that regard.
Our very last orchestra concert was quite the icing on the cake though. The orchestra sounded fantastic! It's such an improvement from our last concert! Filled out with members from the Naples Philharmonic for the side-by-side portion, we were able to tackle some really challenging repertoire and the guest conductor did a great job leading the massive combined orchestra. But I got my biggest surprise during the presentation of scholarships, where I was honored to receive the Joyce Anne Vitelli Scholarship- a grant of $15,000! I had no idea that I was going to be the recipient and I didn't even know the amount until they gave it to me! I thought for sure I was going to pass out on stage, I was so overwhelmed. Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Vitelli, who instituted the award in memory of his late wife, I was confident that I would be able to escape my first year of college almost debt free.
Almost. The job situation down here is really tough. The no-experience-required jobs are getting filled up more and more by full-time experienced adult workers and leaving less places who are willing to take on a 17-year-old, inexperienced high school graduate for jobs as trivial as bagging at the grocery store. I had been getting progressively worried that I wasn't going to get any job over the summer; so far, I've sent out upwards of forty applications, for jobs ranging from a cashier at Publix to a secretary at a law firm. I finally got an interview from a local bistro opening its doors in June. They invited me back for a second interview and said they were interested, but the days went by and I didn't hear from them. I was in the middle of hosting a party to thank all of my high school teachers when they did call. I got the job and I'm going to meet with them again to discuss a schedule and salary sometime this week! I'm now confident that my first year of college (my second, if my Ave credits transfer) will be free of loans. :-)
So I really couldn't have ended the year any better! My high school average is somewhere around a 98/100 right now and my college transcript is decorated with nothing but spotless A's. I have the means to go to a great college and start a whole new chapter of my life with the same hard work that's helped me succeed in high school. I don't think I'd have it any other way. :)
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