Make Them Hear You

Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM
Hello All!!! Let me start by saying that I have already started slacking. I was supposed to do TWO posts a week. But I have a good reason - actually an AMAZING reason. Since the first posting, I have been communicating with AMDA and wrote them this letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

Greetings! My name is Kiarri Andrews and I am an admitted student to the wonderful institution that is the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. I discovered AMDA almost by accident while speaking at a high school during one of my trips as an Admissions Counselor for my alma mater, Northern Illinois University. I recall being attracted to pictures of that school’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which just happened to be above a bulletin board announcing various auditions. There, on this unassuming board, was a poster with a postage-paid response card that within just a few lines of text opened up what I believed to be the door to my destiny.

After successfully completing the application and audition process, I was still slightly cautious about the school. I loved the history and the alumni and of course, the fact that it is located in New York. But beyond that, I realized that I knew very little. I resolved that I needed to visit and become better acquainted, which I did on May 9th’s Admitted Students Day program. After witnessing the awesome faculty members interact with the students on the most eloquent and articulate levels possible, after seeing the utterly gorgeous final products within the Dance program and the acting courses from the Studio track, and after hearing the magnificent pieces of the students on the Integrated Program track, any doubts that I had were dead and gone. I knew and I know there is no other school, program, or establishment that can give me what AMDA can give me and I felt an immediate sense of relief and completion.

Sadly, that sense of relief was cut short when the financial reality of the situation became clear. Even after all the scholarships, institutional aid, and federal loans, I am still about $17,000 away from being able to afford this dream. I have meetings with pastors of churches that I have been a member of to ask for any assistance they may be able to offer. I have applied and unfortunately been denied for two private loans but will re-apply as soon as the opportunity arises. I have considered staying with friends in New York for the first semester and then applying to become a resident assistant to alleviate the housing cost (since I have 2 years of experience from undergrad as a RA and over 5 years of various leadership experience through corporate, extracurricular, and professional sectors), but the fruits of that endeavor remain to be seen. I have already started putting together a website/blog to solicit donations and sending out mailings to any and everyone who has voiced a positive opinion about my talent and potential (and maybe to some who do not have such a positive opinion). However, I worry about coming up short. For students such as myself, who already have one degree but not officially enrolled in a graduate program, there are extremely limited funding resources, particularly in today’s economy. As I have told several people already, “I have faith that I will make it back to New York and to AMDA, but I just don’t quite know how yet.”

I spoke with Stefanie DelRusso, who helpfully suggested that I write this letter to request an increase in my scholarship and/or institutional aid. I know that if an increase is made, it probably won’t be “whopping,” but anything that can be done or that I can do to make this happen I am willing to try. Please consider this request with the knowledge that my art and my heart are totally committed to AMDA to such a degree that the thought of attending brings tears to my eyes. I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for re-evaluating my file.

With Deepest Thanks,

Kiarri Andrews
Hopeful AMDA Graduate

In response, my awesomely awesome admissions counselor called me shortly after I sent it and informed me that he would help me as much as he could. And through his gracious assistance (and the equally GREAT help of the Financial Aid office), a way has been made out of no way and I WILL BE GOING TO AMDA IN 13 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!

I will still be short financially, but I will find a job someway somehow and will still be soliciting donations and everything but I will make it work.

I had an incredibly difficult decision to make though because it is happening so much sooner than expected. I sought the advice of many close people and it wasn't until my cousin, Nicole, challenged me to take it to the Lord in prayer that I remembered the most important decision was not mine, but His. I kneeled next to my bed that night, hands crossed, head bowed, and eyes closed, and prayed. I just talked to God for minutes on end. At the end, I got into bed and slept. The very next morning, all the things that were not in place just fell in and this sense of peace overtook me. I had to give in to it and listen to that voice within that said simply "Go."

So I'm giving away most of my stuff, packing up my clothes and moving to Brooklyn to stay with a double frat fraternity brother who has generously opened his home to me. My eyes continue to water at all the blessings that have come to me but I won't allow myself to cry for fear of it crippling me as I hastily prepare. I'll have my tears, but now's not the time. So the timeline: 13 days til I fly out on the 24th, Orientation on the 25th, Vocal Audition and Placement on the 26th, Dance placement on the 27th, and classes start the 29th. Yeah - its crazy. What would have been my mother's 60th birthday is the first day of the rest of my life. So ready, ready...


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