By Sarah Durski (STM ’22)
Few people—often parents, siblings, friends, or mentors—truly leave a lasting impact on your life. They are the people who guided you during difficult times; they are the people whose voice you hear when you need advice or encouragement. For me, Mrs. Wiecki is one of those people.
For my entire life, music has been a huge part of who I am. I loved to sing, but before I came to St. Thomas More, I did not really understand the techniques and details of the music. Mrs. Wiecki has helped me become a better singer and much more knowledgeable about music, but, more importantly, she has been a supportive figure throughout my high school career.
My sophomore year, Mrs. Wiecki approached me about competing in the Solo and Ensemble Festival, an event where students sing pieces in front of professional judges. I was a bit hesitant, but looking back on the experience, I am so glad that she gave me that opportunity.
Mrs. Wiecki worked on my piece with me for months, and she even invited vocal coaches to help me and my classmates prepare for the festival. I learned a lot about dynamics and breath support, and I discovered that music is a lot more than just singing. The way a piece is performed is strategic, and there are many different factors to consider, such as facial expression, the shape of one’s mouth, and even how the notes physically feel. Because Mrs. Wiecki taught me all of these lessons, I was able to give a performance I was truly proud of, and her support motivates me to continue improving as a musician.
Mrs. Wiecki has also put in extra work to assist with extracurricular activities and provide one-on-one instruction for her students. She helped us reboot our theater program after the COVID pandemic brought it to an abrupt halt in 2020. Having theater back in our lives gave us some sense of normalcy. She moderates Music Ministry, which sings at school masses, and the Tri-M Music Honor Society, of which I am the president. She invites students unable to take the regular chorus class to participate in her “Enrichment Choir,” learning techniques that allow them to perform with the rest of the choir. I was in Enrichment Choir for two years, and Mrs. Wiecki puts just as much effort into this group as she does with her regular choir students.
But Mrs. Wiecki’s influence extends far beyond just music. She has comforted me when I felt stressed or anxious, feelings that often arise when I think about my grades and future after STM. Mrs. Wiecki has helped me remember that I should not worry myself sick about my GPA. She has reminded me that even if I do not get accepted to the most prestigious schools, there is no reason to be ashamed; I can find happiness wherever I end up. She has helped me challenge my preconceptions and achieve peace of mind. Mrs. Wiecki has always treated me as a person who has thoughts and feelings, not like an afterthought. When I talk to her, I can say what is on my mind, and that feeling is so valuable to me.
Mrs. Wiecki has helped me improve as a singer, a student, and a person. She has encouraged me to be a bolder musician, preparing for events I could have never pictured myself doing before I met her. She has taught me that being kind to myself can reduce my stress and anxiety. Mrs. Wiecki’s impact on me will extend far past my graduation from St. Thomas More, and I look forward to walking through the doors that her guidance opens for me.