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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh music education and violin performance major Jacki Thering was one of two recipients of the 2008 Richard G. Gaarder award given out by the Wisconsin Music Educators Association (WMEA). Thering accepted her plaque Oct. 30 at the State Music Conference in Madison.

The award is given out to an undergraduate music education major who has shown exceptional leadership, musical experience and service to the campus and community.

“She deserves that award because she really, really is exceptional in all three of those areas,” said UW Oshkosh music education professor Kenneth Liske, who recommended Thering for the award.

“She does set a standard that her peers recognize, not just in class, but also in her fieldwork and when she’s out teaching students,” Liske said.

Thering’s field work includes involvement in Oshkosh’s collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education (CMENC), where she served one year as vice president and two years as president. Thering is originally from Oregon but moved to Wisconsin and graduated from Waunakee High School in 2004.

Thering, who also plays viola and piano, said music education students work hard in achieving their goals.

“We really believe in what we’re doing and take on a lot more than we maybe have time to,” Thering said.

In leading CMENC, Thering said her main objective was to create a kind of unity within the music department. She sold T-shirts for three years, which students wear on Fridays, and organized various community events.

Thering led the collegiate chapter on a fundraising trick-or-treat, which collected money that was donated to the Wisconsin Center for Music Education. Her group also has performed at local nursing homes and has talked to honors clubs at local high schools.

In addition to community involvement, Thering is a member of the Wisconsin state CMENC steering committee, serving as secretary.

Other awards Thering has received include the Roger Dennis Memorial Award in 2007 and 2008 for highest grade point average in the music department, with a perfect 4.0. She also was selected as an honors recitalist in spring 2008 and will perform in her senior recital at 3 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Arts and Communication Center, 926 Woodland Ave.

She plans to teach in a school orchestra program someday but hopes to explore her options playing violin, viola and piano.

“I’d like to see how far I can get playing-wise before I turn to teaching,” she said.