HHS student wins prestigious TMEA scholarship

HHS student wins prestigious TMEA scholarship
Posted on 01/26/2018

Harlandale High School senior Caleb Keller has been named a recipient of the 2018-2019 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Past-President Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship valued at $12,500.

Caleb received the exciting news Tuesday morning from HHS Principal Alfred Anthony, HHS Band Director Juan Carlos Rodriguez and HHS Counselor Sarah Caywood during his band class. He was chosen from an impressive list of over 60 applicants.

“I was not expecting it,” Caleb said.  “Everyone that applied is a great musician, so it’s amazing that I got it.”

In order to be considered, Caleb had to write an essay that described his commitment to music education. He decided to write about his love for music and how playing his instrument, the French horn, helped him get through a tough time in his life.

“Last year, I was sick and was out all last year, so I just wrote about how I would play my French horn in the hospital,” Caleb said. “Generally, I couldn’t play it a lot because I was so tired, but it’s what I did to de-stress. Even when I couldn’t do most things, music was always there.”

Caleb battled blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN), a rare and acute form of leukemia with a survival rate of 30 percent, during his junior year. Now in remission, Caleb feels grateful to continue to play.

“I’ve been playing the French horn since the sixth grade, so it’s been great to be back,” he said. “Band is what made my life feel normal again.”

Caleb is currently a drum major of the HHS Band and has been a member of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) for four years.

“YOSA is a lot of fun, we get to play big orchestral pieces from famous composers such as Tchaikovsky at the Tobin Center,” he said. “When I’m on that stage, it’s amazing especially when we get a standing ovation.”

He also plays for St. Phillips College’s San Antonio Youth Wind Ensemble and has been invited to play with the San Antonio Brass Band over the holiday season at the Pearl.

“I love music and performing,” Caleb said. “Even though the French horn is the hardest brass instrument and you have to practice a lot, I don’t mind because I really enjoy it.”

Besides being a talented musician, Caleb is also a dedicated student. He is set to be the valedictorian of his graduation class and is member of the National Honor Society, which is something he is extremely proud of.

“I found out I was ranked number one of my class at the end of my sophomore year when everything happened with me getting sick,” he said. “And, it was really hard with all the homework, but I managed to stay up there and keep it.”

After graduation, Caleb hopes to attend either Texas Christian University or Baylor University and is planning a music education and music performance double major.

Congratulations, Caleb! 

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