Kortland Andrews was 19 and his girlfriend, Chloe, was 18 when their whole world turned upside-down – in the best and most unexpected way.
He was halfway through the spring semester of his sophomore year, and admittedly, “everything was going great as planned.” Almost simultaneously with the COVID-19 shutdown, the couple learned that Chloe was pregnant.
Before the shock had even worn off, the pair shifted into “what needs to happen” mode, Kortland says. With a lot of planning and incredible family support, Kortland will graduate this Sunday with his Bachelor of Music degree.
The proudest moment of Kortland’s life thus far happened on October 28, 2020, when his and Chloe’s daughter Teagan came into the world. Two years old now, Teagan is full of spunk, super bright and she loves her friends in the School of Music & Theatre. Even before she was welcomed into the world, SMT welcomed her into their family.
Support beyond measure
“A lot of help came from my parents. They helped out tremendously,” Kortland said, adding that Chloe moved into the Andrews’ family home. This closeness to his folks took some of the stress off the young couple when he had late nights in rehearsal at Heidelberg and Chloe worked late.
But Kortland’s family extended beyond the Andrews family. He also found strong support from the music faculty and his fellow music majors. As Chloe’s due date approached, Kortland, a percussionist in the Marching Band, got the nod from then-Band Director Jon Waters “to drop my drums and run,” if he got a call that she was in labor.
After Teagan was born, faculty worked with Kortland to allow him to stay home to help Chloe recover from an emergency C-section. “They were always happy to zoom me in or Facetime me into classes,” he says. He was away from campus and in-person classes for two weeks, just adjusting to being a dad.
When Teagan was old enough, she accompanied Kortland to campus on occasion. One of those times was during one of Dr. Carol Dusdieker’s classes when she was giving a listening quiz.
“I had to bring Teagan with me that day and Dr. D. stepped right in, strapped her in(to a baby wrap carrier) and continued administering the quiz,” he says. “But honestly, Pat Page helped the most.”
It would appear as if Pat has magical powers with little Teagan, embracing her just as she does with the grown-up Student Princes. “During the times I’d have class and Pat would watch her, I’d come back and Teagan would be asleep in Pat’s office,” Kortland says. To this day, Teagan lights up when she sees Pat and sprints down the hallway for a big hug.
True meaning of family
Through Teagan’s earliest years and the second half of Kortland’s time at Heidelberg, the notion of “family” took on new significance, and it means the world to him.
“We always talk about family within the School of Music & Theatre. In addition to the professors, my classmates were always more than happy to see her and watch her for a little while,” he says.
Teagan even lent her own sweet voice to a Concert Choir rehearsal one evening. “She just wanted to sing along,” her daddy says. “When Dr. Ramsdell figured out what it was, he just melted.”
And on the day she was born, the entire Marching Band sang “Happy Birthday” to her and video-recorded it for Teagan.
And so, the small things become big things. Extraordinary things. Heidelberg things.
A promising future
Just this week, Kortland finished his student teaching at Clyde High School. It was a great experience that solidified that teaching and becoming a band director – and “becoming the best possible husband and dad I can be ‘’ – is definitely what he intends to do.
As this dad becomes a grad, there are a few changes in store. He plans to substitute teach for a year while Chloe goes back to school. It’ll be a balancing act, but with good communication, time to enjoy each other’s presence as a couple and the love and support of family, there’s no doubt that Kortland, Chloe and Teagan will continue to stay grounded and thrive.
Congrats to Kortland and the Class of ’23!