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Trunkful of Dreams

July 15, 2005—When summer signals a break from teaching high school English and journalism, Andy Hawk ’88 throws his guitar in the car trunk and travels around the country to hit open mic nights, singing and playing his own music.

Andy Hawk

Last year, those little trips took on a more focused tack.

“A friend and I talked last year about how millions of people have dreams when they’re young, but at some point just tuck them away and label them childish,” Hawk said. “It made us think, ‘Why do people quit?’ Why can’t you keep some of that alive, even if you’re never going to be famous or make money from it?”

Andy Hawk

Andy Hawk at Captain Mike’s in Kenosha, Wisconsin

He always wanted to record his songs and have his own tour, but since record companies and promoters weren’t pounding on his door with corporate-sponsored deals, Hawk realized that the power to realize his dreams was in his hands. “I thought, why not use my time off to go on tour and use some of my earnings to record a CD?”

With the addition of a third friend who always wanted to be a standup comedian, Hawk and his pals took off from their home base of Frederick, Md., in late June and began traveling and performing around the country. The trip is being filmed, as are their interactions with people they meet. Tentatively titled Hawk Across America, it will be about regular people who don’t want to give up their dreams.

“We’ll be interviewing various people along the way and asking them what they’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “If someone wanted to act, then we’ll film them doing a scene from a play or movie with us, or if they wanted to play music, then we’ll have them get on stage and play. I think it’s appealing because there are so many people who talk about their half-finished novel or how they used to play in a band.”

A website will soon be up and running to document the group’s travels, along with information about Hawk’s first CD, Moth Crazy (available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/andyhawk).

For his “regular” job, Hawk teaches English and Journalism at Loudoun County (Va.) High School, where he’s been since 1997. The Kittanning native worked as a sports writer for the Columbus Dispatch for four years before moving on to teaching, which includes running the school’s newspaper and literary/arts magazine.

Andy Hawk

Elected by the high school seniors as faculty graduation speaker in June, 2004, Hawk wrote and sang a song to them instead of giving the traditional “chase your dreams” speech.

“It’s not a bad gig, although I miss the newspaper stuff on occasion—especially when I have to wake up early in the morning,” he said.

Hawk’s summertime travels bring him back to the Pittsburgh area on occasion, such as last may when he opened for a friend’s band.

“The school kids are my biggest fan base right now, which is great,” said Hawk. “Last year’s seniors voted me the faculty graduation speaker, and I wrote and sang a song to them instead of giving the classic “chase your dreams” speech. It went really well.”

“The whole process of preparing for this documentary has been fun and rewarding for me. We want to show others that there’s no age limit on living your dreams,” he said. “It’s a story about not being afraid to keep doing what you love. It doesn’t matter if nothing ever sells, what matters is ‘I did it, and it’s been terrific.’”

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