Don’t worry, this is not a rerun. But we understand why you might suspect that at first glance. After all, this is the fourth consecutive year UW-Whitewater Senior Grace Caine has been a Council Scholarship recipient.
We recently caught up with Grace by phone on a break during marching band practice. The Music Education major is as engaged and energized as ever, having spent a productive 2023 spring semester earning a 3.7 grade point average. But for Grace, the end of her junior year was filled with off-campus highlights, experiences that will inform her major as well as her plan to be a classroom music educator beyond college.
“I had a lot of amazing experiences,” Grace says. “Back in January, I was president of the Jazz Education Network. Along with a couple other people, I got to go to the jazz education conference held in Florida. We got to hear from a lot of great jazz educators. And we learned about things like introducing jazz into an elementary classroom. Also, things like teaching adults how to improvise.”
Grace also benefitted from specialized break-out sessions at the Florida conference. “I got to go to a music and disabilities session,” she says. “One of the other students was totally blind and another had vision loss. And there were some with amputations and others with emotional disabilities.” Grace plans to arrange for some of those musicians to give Zoom presentations for her classmates this fall.
Grace spent the summer living on campus, her first summer not living at home. It was also her first summer not working for her family business. It was all part of a plan to further experience life on her own. “I wanted to work on my independence,” she says. “I also wanted to apply for work other than our family company. I just wanted to take the opportunity to do that whole process, interview and then work in a new environment.” Grace worked for UW-Whitewater Housing cleaning dorm rooms after students completed summer camps there.
This fall will be Grace’s final semester of undergraduate classwork, a semester that will include her final science credits: “Astronomy,” she says with a groan. It will also include a course called History of Music and Disabilities, a class she’s especially excited about. Spring semester, she’ll be placed in a classroom as a student teacher. She’s on course to graduate in May of 2024. Then what?
“I think I’m going to start looking for a classroom job right away,” Grace says. “Go into teaching and then maybe go for my masters,” she adds. “Music and disabilities. I want to work with music, tech and low vision.”
Wherever Grace goes, she says she’ll always appreciate that the Council is there for her. “The Council always wants to see us succeed,” she says. “The scholarship helps reduce the burden of the financial part of school so I can concentrate on what it takes to just be in college.”