When you don't get to spend all day, every day with high school people, you can tend to believe the trends, statistics, and horror stories you hear. I, however, am blessed to be able to spend my days with many exceptions to the rules of high school hellions. Pictured above are two of my blessed exceptions. Taylor (left) and Lauren (right) have both been in my private studio for two full years and are starting their third year with me. I was talking with a friend from college today about our college vocal coach, and I mentioned that I thought of Mrs. Hodges as more of a life coach. Mrs. Hodges inspired me to return her influence in my life to others who come to my studio. Goodness, I hope they learn more than solfege from me! Anyway, these two beauties are both freshman at good 'ole FHS. Lauren just made 6th chair in the high school all-region choir and Taylor missed district choir by two chairs...as freshmen! Such an accomplishment. I want to focus for just a minute on Lauren, though. Lauren is my student who always asks me, "Can we do that just one more time?" "Before I leave, can we put it with the accompaniment?" She works so hard. She is so wonderful to share with me often how much she enjoys our times together, for more than just singing. I absolutely love teaching Lauren. I love just hanging with Lauren. The last year for her family, though, has been hard to say the very least. You notice the shirts we are wearing...Tigers for a Cure. Lauren's mom designed them just after her final surgery from her long, hard-fought battle with breast cancer. Lauren's maternal grandmother passed away this summer after her battle with breast cancer. This freshman understands the brevity of life in a very real way. Lauren leads out on our campus for awareness of breast cancer, its survivors, and its victims. On the day of our high school all-region auditions, the Lubbock Race for the Cure was being run. Lauren was understandably upset to have missed being with her mom on this day to celebrate both of the precious women in her family who have been touched by this haunting disease. But, in true Lauren form, she showed up that morning wearing her Race for the Cure shirt, including her mom's and grandmother's names on her back as if she were running that day. She was, instead, singing...representing her mom and grandmother in an incredible fashion. She kicked tail, too. I mean...really kicked tail. I am so blessed to have Lauren and her family in my life. Thank you, Lloyd and Suzanne, for sharing your precious girl with me.