Dedicated to Mrs. Nancy Shankman

Dear Nancy,

You came to mind tonight and I wanted to take a moment to thank you and try to express the impact you made in my life. I walked into high school a 13-year-old broken little girl, traumatized and abused, lonely and sad and walked out a braver 17-year-old young woman with a joy for classical music and opera. I joined chorale first term and then chamber singers 2nd term and stayed in them throughout those 4 years. From Broadway to Disney World and from the practice room to your office, I carry the memories you helped to create in my heart.

You always supported me, had time to listen to me, cheered me and encouraged me. I remember you let me sit (hide) in your office when I wanted to escape from a bully and then congratulated me when I finally stood up myself in front of the entire class.

I remember my first solo performance in the library, the hours practicing; under your guidance, I felt I could accomplish anything, even singing by myself in front of an audience. Then on the day, even though I could stare at the clock or the ceiling perhaps, I could feel you there at the piano silently cheering me on. I was scared and nervous on that stage, afraid my voice would crack but then it was over and you were there hugging me.

You let me cry, no questions asked, when things at home got too heavy.

I’m crying as I write this, sobbing for the little girl in me that still hurts yet grateful that you took me under your wing as you did all of your students. No words can express my gratitude, so I’ll just say Thank You, You Made A Difference.

Epcot Center Nancy Shankman

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