Wycliffe Gordon encourages students at Scholars Program

Playing along with former Augusta University music students he personally selected, musician Wycliffe Gordon serenades the crowd with a musical selection for the parents entitled Mercy Mercy Mercy. (Photo: Alexandria Bennett)
Playing along with former Augusta University music students he personally selected, musician Wycliffe Gordon serenades the crowd with a musical selection for the parents entitled Mercy Mercy Mercy. (Photo: Alexandria Bennett)

Alexandria Bennett | Staff Writer

The African-American Scholars Recognition program was held on Feb. 18 at the Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre on Augusta University’s Summerville campus. The purpose of the program is to recognize high school students for their academic achievements.

Two students per school are selected. The students are chosen by their guidance counselor based on who they believe best represents their school and best reflects what the program promotes. The students received an award in the form of a certificate along with a journal given to them by Augusta University. The journal is for recording the many memories that arise from being a college student.

Dr. Quincy Byrdsong, vice president for academic planning and strategic initiatives at Augusta University, gave a warm welcome to the students, their families and friends.

“I can’t say enough how proud I am of you all,” Byrdsong said. “You all should feel honored to have been selected for your outstanding academic achievements.”

Wycliffe Gordon, a world renowned artist in residence for the Department of Music at Augusta University, was the speaker of the evening and performed his own musical selections.

Gordon performed Black and Blue, which was the highlight of the evening, with powerful lyrics such as “my only sin is in my skin” and “what did I do to be so black and blue.” Black and Blue is a song on Gordon’s album Hello Pops! A Tribute to Louis Armstrong, who is Gordon’s biggest inspiration.

Gordon left the crowd uplifted and speechless as he gave encouraging words to not allow skin color to be an interference in determining how we treat one another.

Throughout his life, Louis Armstrong faced a lot of racial discrimination. Gordon studied his life story and walked away with the realization of how important it is to love everyone the same regardless of their skin color or any other factors.

“Pops touched everybody!” Gordon said. “With all that he endured, he allowed love to be his driving force and we must do the same.”

Better words could not have been spoken at such a special program. Esshaunda Chapman, alumna of Augusta University, was so glad to have attended the event as she said she left proud and motivated.

“It was great to hear such powerful words from the infamous Wycliffe Gordon and see him pouring into the youth of our community,” Chapman said. “This event speaks volumes to the amount of brilliant minds we have amongst our youth that are rarely recognized in a positive light.”

Contact Alexandria Bennett at: abenne19@gru.edu.

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