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Seniors take musical talents to college

From+left+to+right%3A+Kaleb+Brown%2C+DJ+Suggs%2C+Leo+Rodriguez%2C+Vicky+Potter%2C+and+Kristina+Rodrigues
From left to right: Kaleb Brown, DJ Suggs, Leo Rodriguez, Vicky Potter, and Kristina Rodrigues

From left to right: Kaleb Brown, DJ Suggs, Leo Rodriguez, Vicky Potter, and Kristina Rodrigues

Eva Winfrey

Eva Winfrey

From left to right: Kaleb Brown, DJ Suggs, Leo Rodriguez, Vicky Potter, and Kristina Rodrigues

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White Station is home to a diverse student population with many different talents and skills. Among these students are ones who have dedicated their education to performing and studying the art of music and plan to expand their knowledge in college.

Under the guidance of band director Brian Sims and private instructors, seniors DJ Suggs and Vicky Potter will continue their musical endeavors in the fall.

DJ Suggs, lead oboe player in the White Station Wind Ensemble, plans to major in Science and Engineering and minor in Music at the University of Memphis.

“Music is my passion, and I enjoy creating it with others,” Suggs said about his decision on continuing to pursue music in college. “Music is the one thing I have in my life that I will never get tired of.”

Suggs has participated in musical programs and events in his high school career. These programs include two years in the University of Memphis Honor Band and a year in the West Tennessee Orchestra and Band Association (WTSBOA)  All-West Convention. He has received an Oboe Minor scholarship of $3,684 to attend the University of Memphis for four years.

“I look forward to the challenges I am going to face as they will make me an even better player,” Suggs said about his admission to the University of Memphis.

Vicky Potter, an accomplished clarinet player of the White Station Wind Ensemble, plans to attend Florida State University to major in Pre-Health Professions in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences and play in a wide range of ensembles. Potter is a part of the Tri-M Music Honors Society and National Honors Society here at WSHS. She has also participated in the WTSBOA All-West Convention and All-State Convention for several years now. “Music brings people together from different cultures and backgrounds, even though it may mean something different to everyone,” Potter said. Potter has been offered a total of $67,376 from Florida State in scholarships to cover four years tuition.

Brian Sims is also the director of the school’s Jazz Band, where talented musicians like Nick Nguyen and Leo Rodriguez, bring the works of the most famous jazz composers to life. Nguyen is the lead tenor-saxophone player in the WSHS Jazz band.  He plans to major in Biology at the university of his choice, but is leaning toward attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

“Music feels like a really natural part of me at this point,” Nguyen said. “It’s one of the few things that I’ve invested myself in purely through my own volition.”

Nguyen has participated in the WTSBOA All-West Convention several years in a row and is a part of the Tri-M Music Honors Society. Nguyen hopes that the atmosphere in college fosters musical growth in a healthy, competitive way.

Leo Rodriguez, a member of the White Station Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble, plans to attend the University of Memphis with a scholarship from the Rudi. E Scheidt School of music in the fall and plans to major in nursing. Rodriguez is a determined and well-rounded musician who has participated in some of the Tennessee’s most rewarding and renowned music programs and activities.

“Nothing will compare to making All-State Tennessee Jazz my senior year. To be able to play as one of the best in Tennessee and first from White Station in over a decade as well as perform for my hero Wycliffe Gordon is something I will never forget,” Rodriguez said about Tennessee’s All-State convention this year. Rodriguez looks forward to continuing his musical career with other talented musicians.  

Orchestra students Kaleb Brown and Kristina Rodrigues are two of many talented orchestra students at White Station. Kaleb Brown, cello player for both Orchestras at WSHS, plans on attending the University of Memphis to major in Music Performance.

“At this point, I can’t really see myself doing anything else,” Brown said. “I love music more than anything.”

Brown attended WTSBOA’s All-West Conventions several years in a row, All-State, Memphis Youth Symphony and Governor’s School for the Arts. The University of Memphis has granted him a $1,000 scholarship for music.

Kristina Rodrigues, a violinist in the White Station Orchestra, has been playing violin since she was three years old.

“My favorite part of is going on stage to perform what we’ve worked months on to prepare,” Rodrigues said. “ The orchestra feels like one big family, and it’s so nice to see everyone come together with the same passion as you make music.”

She will be attending UT Austin in the fall to continue her studies and major in Pharmacy.

Although these seniors are starting a new chapter of the lives, their continued pursuit of music shows their dedication, discipline and passion for music and their education.

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A publication by the students, about the students, and for the students of White Station High School
Seniors take musical talents to college