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SHOUT OUT SPOTLIGHT – Maria Dripps-Paulson

I promised that I’d spotlight myself.  Here’s Maria Dripps-Paulson

Maria Dripps-Paulson

MARIA DRIPPS-PAULSON has recently discovered her love of running.  This is an amazing and extraordinary fact to her as she previously believed that she would only run when chased by a psychopath or a polar bear.  Another recent discovery has been her enjoyment of writing and though she is not as cool as her friends, who write novels every November, she is making her second public speaking engagement of this kind.  She was a 2014 cast member of the nationally known, Listen to Your Mother Show (www.listentoyourmothershow.com), from which she stole the idea to create KAI’s SHOUT OUT! Excited about Education.  She is so very grateful to Diane McFarlin, KAI’s stellar Artistic Director for sharing her vision for this event and hopes you are enlightened and entertained by the intelligent, thoughtful, and amazing perspectives, musings, and moments of these eleven people.

Here are my answers to the Spotlight Questions I asked others.  Whew – they were hard!  Enjoy!

  • What is your educational background? An Oswego High School graduate, I have a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (GO ILLINI!), a Masters of Music in Conducting and Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University (GO CATS!), and a Masters of Educational Leadership from Aurora University (Go SPARTANS!).  Contemplating a doctoral program in non-profit management … what do you think?  Too much?
  • If you are not employed, what do you want to be when you grow up? Well, I am employed and I’m not growing anymore, so I think I’ve accomplished quite a bit regarding this question.   😉
  • If you are already employed, what do you do? I do the Mom Thing, all the time.  When that’s dull (HA!), I occupy my time as the Executive Director for the Kaneland Arts Initiative, formerly the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival.  That leaves me free time to be the Kaneland High School Auditorium Manager.  Then, in the wee hours of the morning, I am a freelance writer for SmartMusic, a music software company out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. And between chauffeuring gigs, I teach music lessons.
  • Do you have a favorite story (that you’re not telling for the SHOUT OUT) that happened to YOU during your education? On another SHOUT OUT, I might just tell the following stories:  “The Case of the Confusing Carwash” and “My Life as a Teenaged Terrorist”  Might you come to another SHOUT OUT if those were in the program?
  • Do you have any favorite teachers? My parents should definitely make this list.  Also, Mrs. Louisa Olez, Mrs. Margene Pappas, Mrs. Gail Mitchell, Mr. and Mrs. Dave and Donna Barnes, Dr. Nancy Whitaker, Dr. Peter Webster, Tom Wisniewski, Gary Smith, and Dr. James Varney.  They all possessed the same ability – to understand the individual, flaws and all, show their love for that person, and encourage them to grow … always.
  • What subject in school was your LEAST favorite and why? I was never a fan of lunch.  I know it’s not a subject, but I usually had things to do and stopping to eat wasn’t very efficient for me.
  • Who do you feel is the hardest working person in an educational system and why? Who was the idiot who came up with this question?!  … oh, me.  A great colleague once said, “Work Hard and Love Your Work.”  I’ll bet all the change in my car that you are immediately thinking of those people in the educational systems you grew up in.  I know I can …
  • What teacher in your life would you like to hear from during a future KAI SHOUT OUT? Kaneland people – Dr. McCormick, Martne McCoy, Beth Sterkel, Pam Lemp, Brandon Fox, Heidi Gilkey, Bonnie Whildin, Suzanne Satterfield, Diane McFarlin … I could go on and on and that’s just staff … students, you’re next!
  • Did you walk to elementary school or ride a bus? We used to walk home, including walking home for lunch.  Loved that time with parents and I probably needed a good sensory break.  I did miss the bus once, when it was going to Solo and Ensemble Contest in 5th  I was at the wrong entrance with my mom and the bus left from the opposite side of the school.  I had to navigate my mom (without a GPS for they did not exist) to get us to the contest school on time.  This is when I discovered that I have a talent for directions.
  • What excites you the most about education? This show does.  The opportunity to marry writing and performance with a diverse ensemble has proven to be a highlight of my KAI year.  I hope this event will continue to grow and spark conversations to celebrate all that is GREAT in our educational systems.  It sure beats posting cute baby animals on Facebook to stop negativity.  Not that I don’t love an adorable baby seal …

The title of my speech is So Here’s What I Know … and it’s been a joy to compose.  I hope you’ll join me and my other cast members on Monday, November 17th at 7pm for the First Annual KAI Shout Out!  Excited about Education.  Get your tickets online at www.kaneland.org or walk up to the box office on Monday evening.  All tickets are $5.

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