Today, I had one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I returned to my middle school, Franklin Regional Middle School, to see myself in the Wall of Fame and spend time with the performing arts students, along with catching up with some of my teachers. When I was a student, I never dreamed I’d get to experience something like this. Since today was so special, I wanted to share all the details with you.
How I Got Added to the Wall of Fame
In September, I received a message from my seventh grade chorus teacher, letting me know she felt I should be added to the Wall of Fame. When I read the message, I was beyond stunned. I’ve said many times the most special moments are the unexpected ones, and this definitely makes that list.
From when I was eleven to fourteen years old, I walked by the Wall of Fame as a student. Back then, I never even wondered if I’d be featured some day because that’s the kind of thing that seems so out of reach. So, my chorus teacher reaching out to me personally and telling me I should be included will always be one of the most special messages I’ll ever receive.
What Happened Next
Once I regained some of my chill, I reached out to my art teacher, who handles the wall. He let me know what to drop off in the office, and I got my picture and writeup together right before Thanksgiving. When he sent me an email with a picture after I was added, I definitely freaked out in the best way. Still, I really wanted to visit the middle school and get a photo by the wall. When I mentioned this to my art teacher, he invited me to speak with the performing arts students during my visit, which became the icing on the cake of this whole experience.
The Best Day Ever at the Middle School
I haven’t visited the middle school in a long time, so it was wonderful to go back. Along with seeing the Wall of Fame and spending time with the students, I couldn’t pass up the chance to reunite with some of my teachers. I emailed them ahead of time, and they were all super excited.
When I first got to the school, I went straight to the Wall of Fame to get a picture. This was such a special moment. I truly can’t thank my Franklin Regional family enough for believing in me and making this happen.
After that, I spent a whole period seeing my teachers. I can’t put into words how incredible it felt to spend time with them. Each of them has played a role in shaping me into the person I am today, since my education has always been very important to me. I loved getting to share what I’ve been up to since school, and their kindness and support meant everything to me. I’m beyond lucky I had such wonderful teachers, ones that I can still talk to so many years later. While I was catching up with them, the time literally flew by. I wish I could’ve talked to them longer, but I had to go to the Little Theater during the next period.
Getting to spend time with the performing arts students was such a gift. First, I talked about how I went from being in middle school to where I am now, giving them snapshots of my education and experiences as a songwriter, recording artist, podcast host, and author. After that, the students asked incredible questions. It was amazing to see them so engaged and eager to learn more. Finally, to wrap up, I performed “Halfway Outta This Town” and a cover of “Homecoming Queen” by Kelsea Ballerini. I ended the fun with an unplanned rendition of “Speak Now” by Taylor Swift, since one of the students asked me if I liked Taylor, which I definitely do.
I put together a special video from my visit to the middle school, sharing photos from the Wall of Fame and video clips from spending time with the performing arts students. I hope you enjoy watching.
This year has brought me tons of unforgettable moments, and my experience at the middle school wrapped up 2023 with the most sparkly bow. I can’t thank the faculty and performing arts students enough for welcoming me back with open arms and making me feel like I’m still part of the Franklin Regional family after all these years. Today was a day I’ll always hold close to my heart.
Once a panther, always a panther.