National Reflections Award Goes to Leanne Haddock

Leanne Haddock takes a break from her busy schedule to be congratulated by Whitman Principal Kathie Acker.
Leanne Haddock takes a break from her busy schedule to be congratulated by Whitman Principal Kathie Acker.

Walt Whitman junior Leanne Haddock has had a very busy year. Last spring she won the New York State PTA Reflections competition and soon after learned that she had received the National PTA Reflections Honorable Mention Award for her musical entry. “I’m very proud to receive this honor,” said Leanne. “I’ve never won anything quite so big before.”

Leanne is a multitalented musician who composed her own piano piece, titled  “The Magic of the Moment When I Fly With My Friend.” “It’s a ballad, so at first it feels like a sad song,” said Leanne.  “But when you put it all together, it makes you feel great.”

Recording her award-winning composition wasn’t easy. With the Reflections entry deadline nearing, Leanne worked hard to get her music written and her lyrics scripted, and when she was ready to put it all together, along came Superstorm Sandy and with it, the end of electrical power. “When the lights went out, my mom helped me record the music on a battery-powered boom box, and while it was difficult, our perseverance really paid off,” said Leanne.

Leanne’s composition is dedicated to her best friend, Allison, who lives in Kentucky. The two speak daily over the computer, and the Haddock family hit the road this past summer for Leanne to be able to spend some quality time with her best friend. The girls, both big fans of the Broadway play Wicked, would some day like to join the cast. 

Growing up with a piano in the house, Leanne has been playing for as long as she can remember, and started formal lessons when she was around seven. She still takes lessons to this day. “My mom is an accomplished pianist and directs the Bell Choir at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church,” said Leanne, who is also a choir member.

Her musical talents aren’t confined to the piano; she is a clarinet player in the Walt Whitman band as well. And if that weren’t enough, Leanne has been an active dancer for the past 12 years and performed in Whitman’s productions of Pippin and Damn Yankees. “Music and dance allow me to let everything go and relax,” said Leanne, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.  “I love Broadway shows, and I think I would love to pursue a career as an actress.”

This talented young lady has overcome many challenges in her young life. Her perseverance and love for the arts has given her a goal that serves as something to aim for, while her undeniably positive attitude is something for all of us to strive for.

Congratulations Leanne Haddock, Walt Whitman’s National Reflections winner.