Class of 2002 Profile

 

 

07/01/02

 


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Margie Yu
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(323) 343-3047

 


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Class of 2002
Becky Boggs: High Achievement in a Low Key

Outstanding music major and band member Becky Boggs—who was born without a left arm—overcomes disability with the use of a prosthetic. A Cal State L.A. honors student with a 3.78 GPA, Becky finished her undergraduate studies in 3 ½ years.

The first things you notice about music graduate Becky Boggs are her radiant smile, her quick wit, and her “can-do” attitude. She is someone you’d trust to take charge of things, and you instinctively know they’ll come out right. The fourth (or fifth or sixth) thing you notice is that Becky uses a left-arm prosthesis.

Becky has used prostheses of one kind or another since she lost her left arm in the womb—she’s a “congenital left-arm amputee,” she explains, and the prosthesis she had as a newborn was there just to get her used to the weight. She started using a working prosthesis with a moveable thumb when she was 18 months old.

When you get to know Becky, you can hardly call this a disability. Her lack of a left arm and hand has never stopped her, only enhanced her innovation in approaching challenges.

According to her parents, Becky always showed an interest in music, dancing even as a pre-toddler to piped-in supermarket music. Listening to her older brother play the saxophone in his grade school concert, she whispered to her mother that she’d never be able to play any of the instruments in the front rows because they required two hands.

Almost immediately, her parents brought her a trumpet, and “I’ve been playing in the brass section ever since,” she says, explaining that she switched from “high brass” to “low brass” because she enjoyed the euphonium—a sort of small tuba—which she plays and teaches now.

Amazing as it seems, she crochets as a hobby, and counts photography, gardening, and hiking among her many other interests. She took a ceramics class and adapted her one-arm style to the potter’s wheel. Commented Becky, “At first I made a real mess—but I think my professor was pleasantly surprised at the vast number of plates, bowls and vases that I ended up making!”

Last year she took a swimming class (without her prosthesis), and "surprised my teacher by beating everyone in the backhand race." (She says, with her typical humor, that she had to learn the technique of NOT swimming in circles!).

Only 21, Becky has already racked up lots of teaching experience. She’s been teaching private students since her senior year in high school and "coaching," that is assisting the band teacher, at Jefferson Middle School in San Gabriel since last September.

She’s also been teaching low brass for the Saturday Conservatory of Music (originally at Cal State L.A. but lately relocated to the Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena). And she’s taught at Sherman E. Burroughs High School summer band camp, the marching band at Alhambra High School and, for the L.A. Philharmonic Education Partners program, at Loyola Village Elementary School, Westchester, CA.

She's also “taught” a session in prosthetics in a Special Education class she took at Cal State L.A. Some day, she says, she'd like to teach a course that combines music therapy and occupational therapy. (She thinks she'll have to design that course.) In the fall, she will begin work as the band director for Holland Middle School in Baldwin Park.

Becky received her B.A. in music after studying in this “unit-intensive” major for only 3 ½ years. She played in the band at her own graduation—leaving her colleagues briefly to accept her diploma, then rushing back again to help usher out the new graduates with a great deal of pomp and circumstance.

 

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