At Oaks Christian High School, my alma mater, one student every year is presented with the “Dallas Price-Van Breeda Award for Artistic Excellence” at graduation. I had the privilege of being the class of 2012’s recipient. The following is the script the head of the arts department, Mr. Brian Kelly, read when presenting the award.
“…Our arts faculty unanimously decided that this year one student stood out from the rest. Here are some words that have been used to describe this student: reliability, character, integrity, talent, versatility, kindness, authentic faith, willing servant, cheerful, faithful and loyal.
Sarah came to us in 6th grade as a beginning strings student under the direction of Mrs. Mary Kay Altizer – and was the only bassist in a sea of violinists. From that day on, she has continued participating in our orchestral programs throughout middle school and high school.
She has proven to be a faithful and committed member to our frequent musical theater pit orchestras where often times she has anchored the section on her own. We have all witnessed her diligence and conscientiousness in the study of the bass throughout her high school years. Not only was Sarah involved in the High School Orchestra, but she also was a member of the Oaks Chamber Strings, an honors ensemble, and branched out into the area of playing both stand-up and electric bass in the Jazz Combo.
Eventually Sarah began to set her sights on the area of composing and arranging. In the past two years, Sarah composed string arrangements for our annual Spring Spectacular, scoring a Disney piece and a jazz standard, and wrote a jazz arrangement which included both rhythm and horn sections.
As well as her dedication to our performing arts department, Sarah has maintained a very strong academic program while excelling not only in the area of fine arts, but in sports and cheerleading as well. She has been able to maintain balance while seeming to excel in so many areas.
Sarah does not shy away from responsibility, as she has been a member of the bass section of the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic Orchestra for the past two years. Currently she serves as our principal bassist in the Oaks Christian Orchestra. Not only does she work well with those who are less advanced, but also eagerly accepts instruction.
She is dedicated, reliable, consistent, and diligent. Sarah is a young woman of the highest character and integrity. This fall Sarah will continue her bass and music studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
Personally, Sarah is one of the all-time nicest students. She is very well loved and respected by her peers, as well as by the faculty at Oaks Christian. She always shows up on time and well prepared. She is easy to work with and is both respectful and teachable.
Thank you, Sarah, for being the amazing role model and leader that you have been these past 7 years. You will be greatly missed.”