Being Kaci Mohon is a full-time job. Between music and math, the Sulphur Springs High School senior has little time to breathe. On the day of our interview, she had just enough time to talk before scooting off for a cantata rehearsal at First United Methodist Church, where she was playing clarinet in the church’s small orchestra.
“I guess I’m good at time management,” Mohon said when asked how she does it all.
Among her many achievements, Mohon has just received a full scholarship in the Honors College Program at Texas A&M University in Commerce.
“They based the scholarship on your SAT and ACT scores,” Mohon explained. “You have to score at least 1200 on your SAT or a 27 on your ACT, and be in the top ten percent of your class. I made a 1250 on my SAT. Then, they called me in for an interview and audition.”
At the time of our interview, Mohon said she was ranked sixth in her class of about 250.
According to Mohon’s mother, Donna, Kasi was offered a music scholarship at TAMU-Commerce, but had to decline it after she was accepted into the Honors Program.
The Honors Program scholarship will cover her apartment, a partial meal program, full tuition and will give her a book allowance. Only 50 freshmen were accepted into the program for the fall.
“I have to take at least 15 hours each semester,” Mohon said. “Plus, I’ll be playing in the marching band, symphonic band and wind ensemble.”
At the moment, Kaci plans to major in both math and music, although she’s only sure of one thing – she doesn’t think she wants to teach in the public school system.
“Maybe I’ll teach private lessons,” Mohon said with a laugh.
Mohon says she became interested in music when she was in middle school and gives credit to Kelley Fletcher, her band director, for getting her started.
“I didn’t know anything [about music],” Mohon said. “She pushed me and I’m glad she did.”
Fletcher, who now serves as a band director for Garland ISD, has high praise for her former student.
“Kaci Mohon is an extraordinary young woman whose character is unsurpassed by any of my students encompassing 22 years of public school teaching,” Fletcher says in a letter of recommendation she prepared for Mohon.
Mohon is also quick to express gratitude to other teachers, including Jeff Smith, from whom she has taken private music lessons; Gerald Grafton, her ninth and 10th grade math teacher and Mary Gilbertson; her 11th and 12th grade math teacher. Grafton has also been Mohon’s UIL math, number sense and science coach for the past four years.
For Smith, the feeling is mutual.
“I enjoy Kaci,” Smith said. “Her family is good to work with, too. They’re there every week.”
Smith says Kaci’s success speaks for itself.
“She has a good work ethic,” Smith explains. “She’s really busy in school. She works around other things. She gets ready for competition when she needs to.”
Mohon has tackled Sonatina, a piece by Miklos Rosza, for an upcoming recital for Smith. The Hungarian-born composer also wrote music for motion pictures, including “Ben Hur” and “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.”
“Kaci always picks the most interesting pieces to play,” Smith said.
Mohon also plays in the orchestra at First Baptist Church.
“Kaci has given her talents freely to the church in Sulphur Springs, as well as First Baptist Church in Mount Vernon,” Fletcher noted. “Regardless of lack of sleep incurred due to competitions on Saturday, she seldom ever misses church. ... [She] is among the most faithful members in our church orchestra.”
Carol Allen, the music director of the Northeast Texas Choral Society, has used Mohon’s musical skills for several projects, including the cantata the First United Methodist choir performed last Sunday.
“Kaci is a young lady who loves her clarinet,” Allen said. “She is dedicated, easy to work with in style and spirit, and she’s going to have a great musical adventure ahead of her should she choose to pursue it. We’ve worked together in several musical productions and I have always admired her work ethic.”
Mohon’s high school band director, Charles McCauley, also respects her work ethic.
“Kaci has made practicing a major part of her life,” McCauley said. “She has really worked hard to achieve success. She always goes to competitions very prepared. She is committed to making sure she is the most prepared player at the contest.”
Fletcher also gives a personal assessment of Kaci, saying “I have observed Kaci to be a very compassionate young lady. She goes out of her way to help others, and she is never too busy to make time for a friend in need.”
Right now, there is a world of opportunity waiting at Mohon’s feet.
When asked why she thinks she’s successful at everything she tries, Mohon says, “I take more interest. I always want to know why
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