DISCLAIMER- I drank one time in college- JUNGLE JUICE -I was at a frat party and there version of Jungle Juice kept me in my dorm room for the whole weekend with a headache- I didn’t have another drink until I was 27–28. (this photo was taken because I thought it would be “COOL”)
I graduated from Stadium High School in 1999. Our high school was a castle (literally you’ll see) and I think that I had a blast, actually I know I had a blast. I had no clue if I was going to be able to walk at graduation because I was suspended/expelled from school the last 2 weeks of school. It was super wack but I think my mom had some pull since she was a principal in the school district and my principal was someone she was acquainted with so it all worked out.
I don’t think I had been accepted to any colleges by graduation so I had no clue what I was going to do. I applied to Morehouse College and I think a few other schools but my GPA wasn’t the best (2.49 it was low because I was more focused on being crowned the class clown for the yearbook) and my SAT scores were average (the highest SAT score you could get in 1999 was 1600 and I scored either a 1320 or 1230 I dunno but it was one of the two) So I was getting rejected by the few schools I applied to. I was involved in a few activities I played varsity soccer (i was aight), played contact football for the first time ever as a senior. I was in the school concert chorale and traveled to DC my junior or my senior year to sing at the Washington Monument. I was also studying privately singing classical music (my mom was an opera singer and she passed on the pipes to me). So during the summer time there was a “black college fair” being put on in Seattle and I am pretty sure that my homeboy Nate Jackson’s mom put together the whole thing. She set up me opening the event singing the Black National Anthem and also singing a German aria that I had won some local and placed high at some national competitions with. She knew there would be college presidents and decision makers from the schools there and she wanted to give every kid that had some talent an opportunity to showcase it.
Well I get in and do my thang on the mic and ended up speaking with a few people from a few colleges but one dude came up to me and shook my hand and told me my performance was amazing and he wanted to meet my parents. He told me his name was Dr. Frink and he was the vice president of Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida 👀. Ok- I didn’t know much about Florida and had never heard of the college (all I remember hearing was if you want to be successful you have to go to Morehouse) but I really didn’t care what school I went to at this point I just knew that I wanted to go out of state for college. Dr. Frink told me and my mom that he was prepared to offer me a full ride to Bethune Cookman – I was like what????? For what? He told us that Bethune Cookman had a world class concert chorale directed by Dr. Rebecca Steele and he knew she would want me in the chorale.
What is funny is one of my best buddies Jessica Evotia Andrews who was a straight musical genius on the piano ended up going there also. Jessica and I had competed in the NAACP ACT-SO competition (Academic Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics) on a state/regional level and had won in our respective categories and both went on to compete at nationals 2 or 3 years in a row. We had a ton of fun doing that and our families were close so it was great for us to end up at the same school. There were a few other Seattle-ites that ended up heading down to Daytona Beach also. Dr. Frink told us that the offer wasn’t official until Dr. Steele confirmed it but he was sending her a video tape of my performance and that she would let us know.
This all happened on a Saturday morning, Monday morning my mom came in my room and woke me up (it was summertime and since my mom worked in the school district as a principal she would still go into work just a little later than usual) handing me the phone? I asked her, “who is it?” and of course she said, “boy just get on the phone.” So I picked up the phone, “hello”. Then a voice replied, “hello, its me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to…” 😂😂😂😂 SIKE I just had to throw those Adele lyrics in there. LMFAO , it was actually Dr. Steele letting me know that I had no choice and no say so in the matter but I would be attending Bethune Cookman College on a full music scholarship. More on my life in Florida tomorrow.
To be Continued…