CCHS Student Tutoring Band Students

Shelby Hillebrandt may only be 15 years old, but she has a roadmap for her future and started on that journey a couple of months ago.

“I want to figure out what I want to do with my life,” Shelby said when she began explaining what she has dubbed “Shelby’s adventure: Music Education”. She has set goals and expectations for herself.

The first step was shadowing a K-5 music teacher who she has known for a few years. Bethany Howard teaches music at Moyer Elementary in Fort Thomas Independent Schools. She allowed Shelby to spend the day in her classroom observing teaching methods and practices as well as interacting with the students.

“She was an exceptional person. She loves her job,” Shelby said. She met Mrs. Howard, who is married to former CCHS Band Director Brad Howard, in her eighth grade year during band camp.

Shelby is focusing on connecting with female music teachers and female band directors because students react differently to them and  it will be more helpful to her if she has input from other females.

“I learned a lot. Everything she did had a lesson to it,” Shelby said, noting the use of music by movement and sound helped deepen the student experience.

“My mind was blown,” Shelby said with exuberance she is known for among her friends at CCHS.

“Shelby is a fantastic example of how we want all of our students to find and pursue their passion area,” said Carroll County Schools Superintendent Casey Jaynes. “Our goal in the district is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to discover and pursue their passion so they are engaged and successful citizens as adults.”

Mrs. Howard said Shelby was very engaged in her music classroom and ready to learn. “She asked very insightful questions about the pedagogy behind why I was teaching the material the way that I do. By the end of the day, she was helping to answer the kids' questions and checking in on their small groups. She has the passion and drive that is going to make her an amazing music teacher one day,” Mrs. Howard added.

Shelby said her goal is to shadow more teachers, particularly female band directors. “I want to see what it’s like in the teacher’s shoes,” she said. “I know what I’m passionate about and that’s music.”

Shelby has played the trumpet since fifth grade. Ironically, she said she randomly chose the trumpet and now she is an integral part of the CCHS Band of Gold trumpet section, tutors middle school trumpeters and began a trumpet quartet this year that has performed during the holiday season.

Her love for music should come as no surprise because music runs deep in her family’s roots. Shelby’s great grandmother is Dora Mae Wagers, a famous banjo player and Bluegrass musician. “I grew up at Bluegrass festivals,” she recalled. “I have a gift for music.” It’s definitely a gift Shelby is not wasting.

A Google search for her great grandmother reveals a quote from her: “Play like you feel. And if you don’t feel it, you shouldn’t be up there in the first place.” Shelby is definitely playing like she feels and pursuing her dream like she feels - with her whole heart.