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The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Chase Fickling’s Story

My name is Chase Fickling, and I am in my senior year at Baylor.  Over the summer, I decided that my passion is for teaching younger students, and so I want to teach Beginning Strings at the elementary level.  I am preparing to student teach in the spring, and I am very excited because my music education professor has found several great districts that have excellent Beginning Strings programs.  I am very close to graduating and it seems kind of strange, but I am really excited to enter the workforce and do what I love every day — teaching.

Like many Music Education majors, I am in my fifth year at Baylor.  Unfortunately, I have experienced many physical challenges that made that necessary.  In the fall of 2009, I developed some pain and swelling in my arms.  The doctor I saw told me to (just) rest and ice my arms.  My third semester at Baylor, the pain in my arms became unbearable and I sought another opinion, which resulted in the correct diagnosis of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome…I ended up having two separate surgeries in which they removed the front side of my left and right first ribs in order to improve circulation in my arms and begin healing the nerve damage caused from lack of blood.

As a result of the surgeries and some complications, I was unable to take a class that only meets every fourth semester.  I needed six months of rehabilitation and another six months of playing violin and continued rehab before I was able to build up the strength and endurance to move back to playing my primary instrument, viola.  This left me needing an extra semester so I could fulfill my viola lesson degree requirement as well.  I am in Cello Methods and viola lessons this semester and they are going great.  I am now set to do my student teaching in the spring of 2015.

My fifth year at Baylor is allowing me more time to develop by fine-tuning my instrumental abilities and knowledge, honing my aural skills, and creating schedule space for more teaching experiences in places like the local Waco String Project.  I currently have a cumulative GPA of 3.95, and my dream job is to be a music educator.  I am grateful that my Baylor professors, faculty, and BAA have been so gracious by working with me to make this dream possible.  The Legacy Scholarship helped my family to feel more secure, by providing financial support, at a time where my future felt inhibited due to my diagnosis, surgeries, and recovery period.

Chase Fickling plays the viola with pianist Michael Womack in Jones Concert Hall last spring.
Chase Fickling plays the viola with pianist Michael    Womack in Jones Concert Hall last spring.

The recovery was long, but I am doing extremely well now.  I am playing in the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, Baylor’s Early Music Ensemble, and I also substitute in the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, a semi-professional orchestra.  This November, I will give my senior recital featuring works by Flackton, Beethoven, Vieuxtemps, and Piazzolla, and will perform on viola with piano and harpsichord!

Two summers ago, I had an opportunity of a lifetime — studying abroad in Florence, Italy, for six weeks.  While in Italy, I got to know several of the local shop owners pretty well.  They would wave to me on the way to class and one of them even added me on Facebook. I took my third semester of Italian in Italy, and our teacher took us out into the city once a week to teach us something about Italian culture.  We went to the open market and one of the vendors let our class sample cheeses, bread, and cured hams.  I hiked in Cinque Terre (a group of five coastal towns) and swam in the Grotta Azzurra, which is part of the island of Capri.  I also met some great people from Florida who helped me see life from a different perspective.  My personality is very “what if,” and they are much more “go with the flow” kind of people, and they’ve helped me shape my perspective to a happy medium between responsible and relaxed. The Legacy Scholarship was not directly responsible for funding my study abroad program, but it definitely freed up some funds that made it possible.

I am having an amazing semester at Baylor.  My schedule is a little crazy but I’m glad because it’s keeping me busy and preparing me to student teach and start my career next year.  Contributions like the Legacy Scholarship allow me to pursue my dreams and I am grateful for all the doors and opportunities that it has opened during my time at Baylor.

All the best,

Chase G. Fickling

The Baylor Alumni Association has distributed more than $212,000 to 55 deserving Baylor legacy students since 2011, including $27,000+ to 42 students for the fall semester of 2014.  In this segment of a continuing series, we bring you Chase Fickling’s story — in part to remind you how terrific — and appreciative — our current crop of Bears are, in part to rekindle some memories and bring a smile to your face, and in part to encourage you to contribute to this important program.  Your donation will help us continue to offer these scholarships — hopefully with larger amounts for these legacy students.  If you’d like to donate, please click here.

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