Pursuing a passion

Senior Olivia Eckroth commits to TWU’s music program


Senior Olivia Eckroth poses with a TWU acceptance banner. Photo courtesy of Olivia Eckroth.

Opening the email, tears of joy stream down her face. The long-overdue news has finally arrived. Senior Olivia Eckroth has been accepted into her dream school. 

Olivia had to apply to Texas Woman’s University before being accepted into the music program. She committed to TWU Feb. 11. After the acceptance into the school, she auditioned for the music program and was accepted April 26. 

“I cried,” Olivia said. “Tears of joy, honestly. I was at home toasting something in the toaster when I got the email and I ran over to my mom. I told her about it and gave her my phone to read the email. She freaked out and cried. It was a relieving moment I have experienced.”

The smaller class sizes that provide additional opportunities for individualized instruction appealed to Olivia, inspiring her to apply. 

“I’ve been recommended by so many people including both my choir directors [and] from adults and friends who have gone there,” Olivia said. “They told me TWU had a good music program. It’s smaller and you get the most from that school. It’s the best school for me and it’s my dream school.”

The atmosphere at TWU helped Olivia feel confident about applying due to it being a school she felt like she would belong to.

“It was my first choice,” Olivia said. “I know people around here talked about UNT’s music program and how good of a program they have, but I personally have always wanted to go to TWU. It felt like a personal fit for me.” 

Olivia’s choir director, Steve Decrow, has supported her since her freshman year of high school. When he found out about her applying to TWU, he managed to communicate with the school’s head director of the music program.

“I talked with TWU a lot,” Steve said. “I wrote her a recommendation letter and I contacted the head director up there to let her know she was coming.” 

Olivia’s mom, Becca Eckroth, has been her biggest help throughout the whole process. The support she provides helps Olivia maintain a positive attitude. 

“I helped her by constantly encouraging her and lifting her up,” Becca said. “I told her how amazing she is and never let her give up. I pushed her to do more than she thinks she can do, whether it’s solos or all-state.” 

Even when Olivia participates in activities not pertaining to music, she finds a way to incorporate her passion into what she does. 

“She is always doing something with music,” Becca said. “She’s either humming, playing instruments or practicing for choir and theater. When she’s not singing or doing music, she’s sleeping. Music makes her happy. When she’s feeling down, music just helps her feel better.”

Olivia’s motivation to succeed academically is a result of her pushing herself the past four years. She enjoys the feeling of accomplishment after overcoming obstacles. 

“She juggles a lot on her plate between school, choir, theater, work and friends,” Becca said. “She still pushes through her anxiety, even though I have to push her through that. She sometimes does it on her own, but she does a great job balancing everything on her plate.”

Out of all Olivia’s extracurriculars, theater has played a big role helping her prepare for the audition. 

“Theater has been a big help for me,” Olivia said. “Though I don’t want to pursue theater as a career, I’ve been in it for a couple of years and it has pushed me out of my shell. My stage fright is much better and I can handle it when a lot goes on. It has helped me become a stronger person [and] it has helped me prepare for this.”