CPA Blog: Seeing is Believing

Academic Dean Dawn Ruff
Who was your favorite teacher in school? In graduate school, I was asked to write about mine. She came quickly to mind: Mercedes Lytle, my high school choral teacher. I performed in Ensemble, the advanced vocal choir, for all three years of high school. I loved it, and I loved Ms. Lytle. She set a high standard. She was quick to laugh, and quick to let us know when we were “fudging,” her word for being sloppy with our vocals.
Under her guidance, I applied for NC’s Governor’s School for choral music my sophomore year.

I was not accepted…and I had never been rejected before!

I was stunned, and yet Ms. Lytle was excited, almost giddy, about my failure, adding insult to my injury. “I think this is so good for you!” she exclaimed. I couldn’t see it then, but I can now. My “failure” propelled me to work extremely hard on my vocals the following year. And when I auditioned again, I was accepted! My favorite teacher celebrated my successes and my failures, seeing both as opportunities to learn, to grow, and to develop grit.


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