10/13/10 — Putting guitar strings to her musical dream

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Putting guitar strings to her musical dream

By Gary Popp
Published in News on October 13, 2010 1:46 PM

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Wayne Early Middle College High School senior and Juilliard School hopeful Nikea Randolph reacts with awe when Scott Henricksen presents her with a classical guitar to use to compose her composition tape for admission to the famous music school. Henricksen came up the idea to raise money with his fellow classmates at Wayne Early Middle College High School to purchase the guitar for Miss Randolph.

The curriculum at Wayne Early Middle College High School puts students on a fast track to earning a college degree by giving them a chance to take advanced classes.

But on Tuesday night, those students showed they are learning more than just trigonometry and physics.

During the school's annual talent show in Moffatt Auditorium on Tuesday night, the most impressive act of the night was one of kindness.

In less than a week, students and faculty at the school worked quietly to raise money to buy a surprise gift for one of the school's talented students.

Nikea Randolph, who is working toward a degree in music, was in need of a classical guitar to compete for a spot at a four-year college after graduation.

Following her performance, the 17-year-old was dumbfounded when presented with the instrument.

"I could not believe they cared so much for my dream," Miss Randolph said, clutching her new guitar close.

Among the schools she is applying to is the world-famous Juilliard School of the Arts in New York. She will submit a copy of a self-written composition as part of her application.

Miss Randolph, a self-taught guitar player, had plans to borrow a guitar to use for the recording, but a regular guitar, even a good one, was still not the right instrument for the composition. The classical instrument is especially made for such music.

"This guitar will allow me to play more smoothly and efficiently," she said. "Now, I can do what I need to do."

The plan to surprise Miss Randolph with the guitar was put in motion by a fellow student, senior Scott Henricksen.

"Last Wednesday, I saw Nikea playing a classical piece with an acoustic guitar. I noticed she had an amazing talent, but she needed the proper guitar to practice her style of music," he said.

Henricksen went to a school counselor and asked that the faculty help provide Miss Randolph the type of guitar that would allow her to best showcase her skills.

Henricksen attributed his empathy for other's needs to his education at WEMCH.

"From day one, this school instills family and friendship," Henricksen said. "We wanted to do this to show everyone the values that are taught here."

While the gift given to Miss Randolph is unique, to some students, the spirit behind the gesture is common at the school, the students said.

"Our school is a family environment. We look out for each other," said Michaela Denton, a senior. She added that, "Nikea is one of the students other students look up to. She is responsible, talented, smart and she works hard."

"We are so small that we have an intimacy," Miss Randolph said. "We treat each other like family."

Her parents, Joseph and Tonia Randolph, were in attendance at the talent show.

"We were just as surprised tonight as Nikea," her mother said. "Who knew Christmas would come early?"