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Featuring Alumna Chelsea Funk-Paschall ’13

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This past January, Chelsea Funk-Paschall ’13 took a break from jobs as mother and teacher to offer an update on her life since AQ. Chelsea graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education Choral Supervision major, participating in many choirs and the jazz band as a vocalist. Enjoy catching up with Chelsea and hearing her words of advice for future grads and music educators.

A love of teaching

I work at Kalamazoo Public Schools as a Music Teacher and have for eight years. I teach many different subjects and grades. Currently, I teach first-year choir at Hillside Middle School and Milwood Magnet Middle School and Kindergarten music at Milwood Elementary School. I love getting to see my elementary students grow into active members of my middle school choirs and build on what we used to do in elementary music. Some of my students even went on to play leading roles in plays and musicals in the community. Knowing that I helped foster that passion is truly incredible.

My schools are really diverse. Teaching at buildings where ethnicity, language and life experiences are incredibly varied creates a new adventure every day. I am never bored with what my students develop in their minds and share during my music classes. Our lessons change based on what those students contribute to the class. I love that my students are such strong individuals, and the community I work in fosters and supports that strong sense of self. It is something that I hope every educator gets to experience in their career.

Aquinas Memories

When I attended Aquinas College, I rebooted student-led performances at The Moose Café and created some pretty fabulous theme nights. The music students overtook our little coffee shop with hor d'oeuvres, decor and, of course, fantastic music from our very own AQ musicians. I loved putting these events together, and it grew bigger and better every year! I still attribute this experience to my strength in coordinating and planning events and concerts to this day.

Preparing for Your Future

Networking truly is invaluable. The connections you make get you the interview. I was in the majority of ensembles at Aquinas. I also worked in the office at the Art and Music Center and ran events and concerts on the music department’s behalf. Those experiences put me in the right places at the right time. I didn’t know it, but I was marketing myself as a potential hire. I presented myself as a competent person who was helpful and easy to work with. In the process of doing so, I created great references for my resume. The references I had from my time at Aquinas propelled me to the final stages of every interview I took. That allowed me to choose who I work with, not who I work for.