Christine Oakes is raising her hand — and the bar — for the future of music education in Texas.
Oakes, a double major in music education and voice performance, is one of first recipients of the new Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers. Presented by Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, the scholarship offers financial aid, professional training and development opportunities, a professional mentor and the chance to network with statewide educators.
“It’s amazing,” says Oakes. “I can’t wait to connect with the teaching community.”
Oakes tapped into her love for music early in life. She began taking voice lessons in middle school, but credits her high school choir with kindling her love of teaching.
“Choir had the most positive atmosphere,” she recalls. Not only a place for students to hone their vocal skills, it also served as a support system for students dealing with personal challenges or struggles. “Choir gave a lot of students the chance to express themselves and heal. It was a place of breakthroughs.”
And that’s what Oakes wants to provide as a teacher, a place where students can come together to experience music in new ways and build a supportive community.
“Music is something I want to share with others,” she explains. Ultimately, her dream is to bring music to a school that doesn’t have access to the arts. “It’s about exposure, and opening up doors for students to discover new music.”
At the Moores School of Music, Oakes is determined to gain as much hands-on experience as possible. In just two years at the University of Houston, she has performed in five operas, including landing a lead role in “The Inspector” as a sophomore, traveled across the country with the award-winning Concert Chorale and taught at the UH Charter School.
“Coming to UH is the best decision I’ve made in my life,” says Oakes. “I’ve been exposed to so many amazing opportunities and pushed out of my comfort zone.”
As a Raise Your Hand scholarship recipient, she looks forward to even greater challenges — and greater success.