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James M. Brown Scholarship Winner Announced

posted May 23, 2016, 7:03 AM by Deborah Wickliffe   [ updated May 23, 2016, 7:04 AM ]
At the board meeting on May 16, Rasheem Simpson, from Seneca High School, was recognized as the 2016 recipient of The James M. Brown Scholarship for the Arts. Rasheem is the 22nd recipient of the scholarship, which is awarded every year to a student graduating from a high school in the School District of Oconee County who will enter a college or a university to major in dance, drama, music, or visual arts.

Rasheem is a member of the Seneca High School Honors Chorale, Madrigal Ensemble, and is the Music Worship Leader at Thomas Heights Baptist Church. He was selected for South Carolina All State Chorus in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and was the highest scoring bass in the elite ensemble in 2016. Rasheem is a member of the Seneca High School Interact Club and is enrolled in the Advanced Placement Music Theory program. He played football and participated in track and field as well.

For the audition, Rasheem performed Nina, by Pergolesi, and The Vagabond, by Vaughan Williams. After the performances, the four person selection committee asked if he would play the piano for the group, so he performed a Disney medley he had created. At that time, he was asked to sing a song of his choice and he sang Amazing Grace without accompaniment.

Rasheem plans to attend Southern Wesleyan University in the fall of 2016. He said, “I have always had a passion for music and have been around it my whole life. I will attend Southern Wesleyan University because of their outstanding music program. I know that while I am there, I will learn a lot more about music and it will help me become a better musician.”

In her recommendation letter for Rasheem, Diane McFarlane, Vocal Music Instructor at Seneca High School, said, “Rasheem is extremely dependable and is well liked by his teachers and peers. I would put Rasheem in the top five percent of students I have taught, with his amount of talent and potential. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Rasheem and I will miss him dearly upon graduation.”

Students apply for the scholarship and then audition for the selection committee, which is comprised of members of the James M. Brown Scholarship for the Arts Committee. The $500 per semester scholarship is renewable for three additional years.

Mr. James M. Brown was serving as the superintendent of the School District of Oconee County at the time of his death. He had a great love of the arts. Friends and family started the James M. Brown Scholarship in his honor. Mrs. Brown still oversees the process and serves on the selection committee.

Pictured above L to R: Diane McFarlane, Vocal Music Instructor SHS, Rasheem Simpson, and Margaret Brown, Foundation Director