Teacher Spotlight: Rachel Harkins
Religion teacher Rachel Harkins strummed the strings of her harp in an elegant ball gown, as she competed for the prestigious title of Miss Maryland. Harkins competed in this pageant for two years, 2009 and 2010, and even though she never won the crown, she placed in the top 10 both years.
After seeing a harpist play at a wedding at age eight, Harkins told her mom that she was interested in playing as well. “I loved playing harp on stage,” Harkins said.
Harkins studied at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore and continues to play the harp professionally on the weekends. She even had the opportunity to perform as a soloist at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall earlier this year.
“I was in awe of the opportunity to play in such a magnificent place [Meyerhoff]. I felt that this was the pinnacle of my career to date,” Harkins said.
As for performing in pageants, Harkins said that she originally participated to win the scholarship money, but found that they helped her to “better herself in all areas,” including interview skills and business networking.
“I had to find balance in all aspects of my life to compete well,” Harkins said. She also used God to ground her. She found her faith in her junior year of high school at Mount de Sales Academy. She would meditate in the chapel during any break she had and was even eventually able to talk about her faith and hold weekly prayer meetings with her classmates.
Harkins wanted to become a Religion teacher after she became more of a faith filled person. She also wanted to be an example to teenagers who are going through the same things that she has gone through.“In high school, I experienced both good and bad religion teachers who can make or break your faith life. And I just felt God had called me to help teenagers strengthen their faith,” Harkins said.
Brianna Glase is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.