Denise Radeloff ’13 chose Shenandoah because the tight-knit campus truly felt like her home-away-from-home. “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that everyone from the lunch lady to the president knows you by name.”
Originally, Radeloff was a musical theatre major, but at the encouragement of professors Linda Leonard-Pell and Jeffrey Marlatt, she switched to music education. Soon after switching, Radeloff suffered a personal tragedy that almost made her give up on her education, however, Marlatt and his staff refused to give up on her. The staff ensured Radeloff’s success by meeting with her one-on-one, offering the opportunity for independent studies and encouraging her both personally and professionally.
Radeloff credits Marlatt with being the key to her success. “Everyone should be as fortunate as I was to have had a mentor as great as Dr. Jeffrey Marlatt. There are not enough words in my vocabulary to describe what this man has done for me, both personally and professionally. When I lost sight in myself, he had the wisdom to see something in me that I no longer saw. My trust in him enabled me to pursue my education as he guided me towards my goal of being a music educator. Even after my graduation, he has continued to inspire me. I hope one day, I too, can be a Dr. Jeffrey Marlatt to one of my students and impact their future as he did for me.”
Today, Radeloff passes on Marlatt’s legacy by adopting a policy of refusing to ever give up on any student, at any time. She teaches K-5 students in school near Richmond, Virginia where many of her students struggle with having enough food and clothing. She works hard to help her students find positive ways to bring their music out of the classroom and into their homes, including organizing an instrument drive to help cope with the 300% increase in band enrollment in recent years.
There is not a doubt in my mind that if I did not attend Shenandoah University, I would not be where I am today.”
Radeloff advice to current students is the following:
- NEVER STOP BEING A STUDENT!
- Observe as many teachers as you can.
- Keep music in your personal and professional life as this will inspire your creativity.
- Learn from your students.
- Start off each year with a firm foundation knowing that there will be modifications along the way.
- Make your classroom a safe, nurturing, fun space that students want to come to each week.
- Smile and have fun!