The decision has finally been made...Mary Helen has officially chosen THE college where she'd like to spend the next phase of her life (starting in August 2007).
And the WINNER is..........Piedmont College
Piedmont College is located in Demorest, GA. It is about 1 1/2 hours from home...far enough, but not too far. :-)
Mary Helen's college search has been long and involved MANY traveled miles and more than a few nights in hotel rooms. Mary Helen looked into the following colleges:
Florida State University
Carson Newman College
Brewton Parker College
University of Georgia
University of Alabama
Columbus State University
Georgia State University
Piedmont College had not been on her "radar" screen at all, but after seeing a former Atlanta Youth Choir singer, Jennifer Babel, at the Georgia Music Educators Association's conference last January, Mary Helen decided to go and look at Piedmont. Jennifer is at Piedmont studying the same course work that MH plans to study. Mary Helen's goal is to be a high school or middle school choral conductor.
Anyway, we managed to visit the campus for the first time back in late April. After touring the campus, sitting in on a rehearsal of their top choir, Chamber Singers, and having a long interview with the chair of the music department, Dr. Wally Hinson, Mary Helen and I walked back out to our car. As we walked, she said.."Mom, I think this might be THE place...this might be the right college for me." I held my breath and said a prayer as I walked. She had been so convinced that two other colleges had been "right" for her, and in each case major red flags had gone up shortly after our visits to them that told her that those colleges were not the right ones for her. She was almost scared to think that this college, the one we'd not even considered visiting until doing so out of politeness to a choral friend, could possibly be the place where she would find what she was looking for in a campus and choral program.
Mary Helen found herself praying about the decision and having further discussions with Dr. Hinson. Then she went away to camp for 9 weeks. Upon her return, she was content in her heart that Piedmont was the right place.
Shortly after returning from camp, Dr. Hinson surprised us with an email stating that he'd hoped MH was still interested in Piedmont. At his invitation, Mary Helen and I returned to the Piedmont campus last Wednesday. Mary Helen sat in on 2 classes and another Chamber Singers' rehearsal. We also had the opportunity to go to lunch with Dr. Hinson. Mary Helen was pleased with all that she saw and heard. I, too, was very happy with everything. I especially like Dr. Hinson and think that he will play a key role in Mary Helen's life and learning for the next 5 years.
Our last stop of the day was the campus bookstore, where we OF COURSE had to buy an official Piedmont sweatshirt!
I'm so thankful to have this search completed. Mary Helen's application is submitted and we await word on scholarship opportunities.
Here are two pictures from our day. The first one is MH and Jennifer Babel. Jennifer will be there for MH's freshman year. I think she'll be a great asset for MH.
This is Dr. Wallace Hinson and MH. I'm sure this is the first of many photos I'll take of them over the next 5 years.