Judson Journal Winter 2014 - page 7

Living A Dream:
Bringing A Musical Message
Of Impact
By Kyla Mora (Faculty Wagner HS)
Most teenagers, whether or not they admit it, have a fame
plan all laid out in their heads — a ‘what if?’ ‘What if I bumped
into Justin Bieber at the mall?’ ‘What if a movie star saw me on
the street and offered me a job?’ ‘What if Austin Mahone’s aunt
saw me sing at a local restaurant and reached out to help me
launch my career?’
It’s a beautiful aspiration, a dreamy way to spend an hour
planning photo shoots and public appearances. Except, for San
Antonio teen musician Faith Marie Shirley, it’s not a dream any
longer (that scenario with Austin Ma-
hone’s aunt really happened). Now, in-
stead of planning for red carpets, this
local star has embarked on an inspira-
tional tour that began in October and
will bring her to schools in the Judson
Independent School District just in time to end the year.
Faith’s journey started after being discovered singing at a
local pizzeria. The talented sixteen-year-old was quickly signed on
with the Teen Nation
tour, an organization that
brings young up-and-
coming musicians to
schools around the nation
to promote an anti-
bullying message. “She
loves it. She has a pas-
sion for it,” Faith’s father
Michael Shirley said.
“She’s really wanted to
do this and give back to
the kids in the area.”
According to Shirley, a
special-needs educator with
over 20 years experience in San
Antonio school districts, the
Teen Nation tour is the
perfect place for Faith to
give back to her commu-
nity. “Peer-to-peer is the
best way to go, and music
is a great way for Faith to
get her message across,”
Shirley said. “And every-
body has been bullied. She’s
been bullied.
She gets a lot of
cyberbullying about her work, and that doesn’t stop
her. The main thing is that she wants to give back,
tell kids that if you’re getting bullied, you’re not
alone. There’s always someone you can talk to.”
According to Shirley, this visit to JISD has special signifi-
cance for Faith. The family has lived in the San Antonio area for
19 years, and Shirley and his son both graduated from Judson High
School. That family history really drove the desire to “give back to
Judson,” Shirley said.
Giving back to Judson is, according to Shirley, the perfect
capstone on a busy year that has seen Faith performing at 200 as-
semblies. And while the schedule may be hectic, Shirley says that
what really matters is that Faith gets a chance to really connect
with other students.
“She’s heard so many stories, kids who are going through
things, kids who cut on themselves — she hasn’t even told me all
of them,” Shirley said. “And she tells them she loves them, that
that isn’t the way to deal with things, that you can’t let things peo-
ple say make you do things you’ll regret. She has so much drive,
and kids just can’t believe that she’s at their school.”
“Peer to Peer is the best way to go
and music is a great way for Faith
to get her message across.”
Michael Shirley (Faith’s Father)
A recent field trip to Government Canyon State Park planned
by Converse Elementary School had to be cancelled because
of bad weather. The kids were disappointed at first, but then
the park decided to come to them. They were thrilled when
some great park staff came to the school with an array of ani-
mal pelts and other materials for students to explore and ask
questions about. They provided an awesome presentation to
the kids and the school appreciated the extra-mile effort the
Government Canyon staff made to come to the students. The
kids were glad to find out that their field trip to the park has
been rescheduled for this spring. Thank you Government Canyon
State Park.
The Day The Field Trip Came To The Students
Faith Shirley at a recent school
assembly bringing her anti-bully
message through music
1,2,3,4,5,6 8,9,10,11,12,13,14
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