Today@Sam Article

Commencement Spotlight: Rachel Menchaca

May 3, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

“Commencement Spotlight” is a series focused on highlighting SHSU graduates who have made remarkable strides in their lives to reach commencement day. These stories from Bearkats graduating this month, who have demonstrated a “can-do” spirit through challenges and service, remind us of the many ways Sam Houston State University is preparing students for meaningful lives of achievement. Visit today@sam/commencementspotlight to find the list of stories highlighted so far.

Rachel Menchaca
Houston, Texas
Degree: Bachelor of Music in Music Education, All Level Choral (K-12) Certification

rachel 3“The School of Music, The College of Education, and Sam Houston State as a whole, have helped me accomplish the soul, the musician, the student, and the educator that I was meant to be.”

What challenges did you face to complete your degree?
RM: The challenges I have faced completing my degree are more personal. I suffer from anxiety and depression and have been on medication to treat my symptoms, so I can fulfill my duties. Over the last five years, I have traveled quite a bit to and from campus, due to work and church gigs, so that put a lot of stress on my body and mind, and miles on my car. I have a fantastic support system of counselors, my professors, my family, my partner, my colleagues, and now my students. They really do everything they can to remind me that I’m not on my journey through life alone and always find a way to put a smile on my face at the end of the day.

What has the student teaching experience been like for you this semester?
RM: No one understands teacher-tired than another teacher. Every class I have taught has expanded my content and pedagogical skills in so many ways. To be able to pass down my knowledge to the next generation of musicians has been a gift. In the end, I know I am meant to be in the classroom.

What community service projects have you taken part in during your time at SHSU? 
RM: I took part in projects off campus, which included clothing and food drives for local schools, tutoring services for low socio-economic children, and I provided childcare services to church volunteers.

rachel concert

What awards and accomplishments did you earn at SHSU?
RM: I received several scholarships through the School of Music and outside organizations as well. The most recent was the Jimmy and Linda Miller Scholarship for Student Teachers. I also received a second place award in SHSU’s 2019 Art Song final competition.

What future career goals do you have?
RM: I want to pursue my Master of Music degree after I teach public school music for five years. My dream is to teach private voice lessons from home and to run my own voice studio. It’s something I have wanted to do for years, because I want to have a large family. It will be something that provides an additional income and allow me the freedom to stay home and raise kids. Before I became a singer, I also wanted to be a mom.

 rachel 2What will you miss most about your time as an SHSU student?
RM: I will miss every choir concert, voice recital, opera performance, and all the geographical locations my SHSU music journey has taken me. As an SHSU Chorale member, I was part of a program that still brings me to tears to this day, performing in the Southwest American Choral Directors Association Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. I performed in the graduate division (as an undergrad) in the National Opera Association Competition in Cleveland, Ohio. I have collaborated with distinguished musicians in the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Alaska, and met and coached with renowned voice professors from outside of Texas. I will always look back and reminisce on all of my college memories. I know that this journey is not the end of my career. It is only the beginning.

Photos by @NewHorizonImages

 See more Commencement Spotlight features. 

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