She has the drive

Tegan Dean’s story of competing, singing, studying, and doing it all over again the next day

If you ask Tegan Dean’s coaches and friends to describe her, a few specific words repeatedly rise to the top: vibrant, leader, and contagiously positive.

Though if you ask Dean herself, she’ll give you a much more humble take on it all. There is no denying that Dean’s work ethic, passion, and drive for her studies, sport, and music elevates her to the top of her class.

Dean’s initial journey to Lees-McRae was ignited by the dream opportunity to compete collegiately on the women’s soccer team. However, what has kept her here has gone above and beyond just her competitive pursuits.

The recently declared elementary education major is also the lead singer in the award-winning, self-described “indie-pop with dabs of class rock and grunge for texture” band, Barefoot Modern.

With Dean at Lees-McRae and her three fellow bandmates earning their degrees simultaneously at nearby Appalachian State University, it would also be no surprise to say that Dean’s time management, discipline, and hard-working nature are also frequent descriptions of the performer, athlete, and teacher-to-be.

For Dean, being able to do all the above has been nothing short of “miraculous,” she says.

“I really do believe that it all happened for a reason and a purpose,” she added. “I’m beyond lucky to have the opportunities that I have been given so far and the support by those around me.”

So who is Dean’s circle of supporters you might ask? Well for starters, Dean attributes much of her ability to balance her hectic schedule to the unwavering support and empowerment from her coaches.

Erin Barcal, assistant women’s soccer coach, who has known Dean for the last year and a half, says that in addition to her attitude of servant leadership, Dean has never hesitated to ask to do more than what was expected of her. In return, Barcal, like all of the coaching staff at Lees-McRae, supports students in their pursuits both on and off the field. After all, student-athletes not only come to college to compete, but also to earn their degrees.

“It’s our job here at Lees-McRae to empower our students with what they are good at while also strengthening their weaknesses,” Barcal said. “We rally that support behind her…because whatever avenue Dean takes, she is going to be passionate about it, and with that passion comes success.”

Best friend, teammate, and roommate Amanda Lubkemann had similar sentiments to share.

“Tegan is a beautiful and vibrant individual,” she said. “With a phenomenal work ethic.”

Lubkemann says that after soccer practice and dinner at MacDonald Dining Hall, Dean will roll right into her responsibilities with the band—taking the 30-minute drive to Boone to practice and record at the band’s record-label recording studio. Often, she won’t get back to her room until midnight, but won’t miss a beat diving into her studies.

Just to do it all over again the next day.

“Dean has a drive inside of her that won’t let go,” Lubkemann said. “She’s calm and collected, thinks things through, and takes her time in making decisions.”

Simply put—it’s inspiring.

Though Dean’s passion and drive often inspires those around her to push and try for more in their own lives, Dean will tell you it is that exact opportunity to change the lives of young children that is leading her into a career of teaching.

“I have such a unique chance to change their lives in such an impactful way,” Dean said thinking back to her recent children’s summer camp experience.

Leading a class of 25+ students each day for the summer, Dean knew it was her calling to teach young children especially on the final day when she had to say goodbye to them all.

“It was really emotional,” Dean said. “Tears were definitely shed and it opened my eyes.”

Now with her major declared, Dean has had the chance to meet her professors and get to know the faculty that will guide her through the remainder of her academic journey at Lees-McRae.

She says that it is their love and experience in teaching that drives her to move forward even in times of difficulty. “They know first-hand what it takes to be a successful teacher,” she said.

Looking back at the last two fast-paced years at Lees-McRae, Dean says that she cannot wait to see what the second half of her higher education experience has in store. 

Regardless, she knows that it’s the support of those around her—her friends, coaches, and professors—that will make the difference.

Dean’s aspirations moving forward?

In addition to earning her degree at Lees-McRae, “putting it all out there,” and rounding off a successful DII collegiate career in soccer, she says she hopes to get Barefoot Modern signed with a bigger record label, performing at some larger festivals, and even going on tour.

I am really just blown away by everything that has happened thus far,” she said. “I would have never imagined any of this, but it’s all part of a plan, and I am really excited to see where it all goes.”

Tegan Feature

Hear Tegan perform live with Barefoot Modern on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Welcome Home Block Party as we kick off Homecoming 2019!
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By Nina MastandreaSeptember 06, 2019
AthleticsCampus LifeAcademics