Lydia VanDeRiet

Women’s History Month Q&As: Laura Zilhaver

Name: Ms. Zilhaver

Years at the school: 4

Field: The arts

What would you consider to be your greatest achievements?

“My ‘greatest achievements’ feel kind of ordinary to me. I am proud of the work that I did as a graduate student at Western Michigan. Most importantly, I am proud of the work that I do here at FHC.”

What are some of the most exciting experiences you’ve ever had?

“I originally grew up in Pennsylvania. Moving to Michigan and starting a new life here has definitely been an adventure.”

Do you have any women you look up to?

“Yes, absolutely. I have several women band directors that mentor me.  These women have 20+ years of experience in the field. I appreciate the perspectives they offer. I am grateful for the strong women I have in my personal life, too. My mother and my grandmothers all were strong women.”

How do you strive to be a mentor to other women?

“Although I’m a teacher because I like working with all students, I think it is important that I help young women develop leadership skills.”

What would high school you think of you now?

“High school me would be proud. I am doing what I had hoped I would be doing.”

What obstacles have you had to overcome as a woman?

“Believe it or not, most high school band directors are men. We’ve come a long way in the field, but it is still less common for women to run high school band programs. There were people along the way that thought I couldn’t do the job. My mentors have truly supported me when others didn’t. I am grateful for that!”

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