“Reflecting on my journey, I often think about how my life transformed when I moved from Champlain, Minnesota to Sioux City right after the summer of sixth grade. Starting at East Middle in seventh grade was a pivotal moment for me. Choir has been my solace and joy throughout my life; it was no different when I moved. I dove right into choir as soon as I could, finding a community and family within the show choir circles. This love for music and the incredible support from Shannon Salyards Burton and Dr. Person drew me to Morningside. Their willingness to work with me, combined with the scholarships offered, made it a no-brainer. Not to mention, being close to my sister, Emma, who is at East High School, was a huge bonus because our bond is indescribable. We’ve always been that duo, constantly singing and dancing, our lives melodiously intertwined, much like our parents who were musically inclined too.

Though I originally planned to attend a larger school, Morningside just felt right. And even though I am still in Sioux City and close to home, being at Morningside feels different than the rest of Sioux City and it felt like a fresh start. The science programs intrigued me as much as the music did. I had originally planned to be a biology teacher or possibly be just a straight up biology major, but I quickly realized that wasn’t for me and transitioned to biopsychology. I really love the hands-on lab work and being able to get to know my professors.

Choir trips like the one we took to Rapid City last fall really bond our group and create memories I know will stay with me my whole life. You can really connect with other people during a seven-hour drive. Those connections are what make it so easy to find a place at Morningside while stretching yourself to try new things.

My passion for music has ultimately allowed me to carve out a beautiful pathway of friendships and opportunities. It has taught me the power of creating connections through shared passions. There was a time when my anxiety sometimes held me back, but I have found that I am able to overcome fear and anxiety by staying focused on the things I am passionate about.”

– Ava Arthur, using the power of passion and purpose to make the most of her Morningside experience