Graduate student writes top 5 song in national contest

A song written by a TCU student has recently been named one of the top five finalists in a national song-writing competition. The winner of The Student Anthem Challenge will be announced next week and will be decided through online voting, which will be available to voters through Sunday.

Jacquelyn Weitz, a music graduate student, entered her song “More Than I Am” in the competition almost five months ago, she said.

Early this summer, a panel of judges chose “More Than I Am” as one of the top 20 songs out of 130 entries. Since then, it has made it into the top 10 and now the top five.

The Student Anthem Challenge is a yearly competition open to all high school and college students.

Richard Gipson, director for the School of Music, said competitors’ songs were supposed to encourage other students.

“The challenge invited competitors to create a song that would inspire young people to stay in school, work hard and achieve,” Gipson said.

According to its Web site, The Challenge is part of a larger project called The Student Anthem Project, which aims to encourage students to stay in school and complete their educations.

“The Student Anthem Project transforms teachers, students, high school dropouts and musicians into anti-dropout crusaders,” according to a statement on the Web site.

Weitz said she got inspiration for “More Than I Am” from her own feelings on education.

She said she knows how important it is for students to stay in school and to believe in themselves, and said she tried to put that into the music.

The song, which runs more than four minutes long, took Weitz around a week to write, she said.

If Weitz wins, she will receive a $5,000 scholarship, a professional recording session, performance opportunities in schools across the nation and a television appearance, Gipson said.

“This is the first song I’ve written knowing that other people would listen to it,” Weitz said.

She said the response to her song has encouraged her to keep writing.