Education

Athens Drive High School senior graduating with 28 scholarship offers

An Athens Drive High School senior will graduate on Wednesday with 28 scholarship offers totaling $1.6 million.

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Kathryn Brown, anchor/reporter,
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Rick Armstrong, producer
RALEIGH, N.C. — An Athens Drive High School senior will graduate on Wednesday with 28 scholarship offers totaling $1.6 million.

As a drum major, Tyrone Williamson is a sort of quarterback for the Athens Drive High School marching band. His teacher calls him a born leader that could excel in any career, but his real passion is playing music.

"He just had that 'something' in his eye that said, 'I really want to do something special with my life. I care about what I do and care about the people around me,'" said Jerry Markoch, the school's band director.

Athens Drive High School senior graduating with 28 scholarship offers

Williamson has a long list of scholastic and music honors that opened the doors for the scholarships. His father helped advise him through the challenging application process.

"I think he's done some of what we said, but he's done a whole lot more," said Tyrone Williamson, Sr.

Williamson Jr. said writing essays and listing awards and activities were all important when applying for the scholarships.

Athens Drive High School senior graduating with 28 scholarship offers

"Schools are also looking for personal passion -- you need to have, like, a little bit of fire inside of you about something," Williamson Jr. said.

Out of 28 scholarship offers, the graduating teenager chose Johns Hopkins' Peabody School of Music.

"I'd like to play in an orchestra and also go play on Broadway and teach privately and then, eventually, become a band director," he said.

"I'm happy that he's chosen music to go after," Markoch said.

Williamson Jr. said the best advice his father gave him for scholarship applications was to take a light load of first semester courses -- giving him more time to focus on writing essays and building his resume to show different schools.

"It's really encouraging, but it's also bittersweet, because it'll be sad to see him leave home," said Williamson Sr., adding that he couldn't be more proud of his son.