The Power of Music District 300's Musically Inclined Students Excel at Academics

By Dillon, Naomi | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 13, 2001 | Go to article overview

The Power of Music District 300's Musically Inclined Students Excel at Academics


Dillon, Naomi, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Naomi Dillon Daily Herald Staff Writer

By about now, Colin Wise should have settled into his dorm room at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music in New York.

Russel Blogg has him beat by a couple weeks, settling into Ferguson Hall at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington at the end of August.

And also this month, Jenny Way will lug her belongings onto the campus of Northwestern University.

All three are freshmen, beginning the path down a hopefully successful college career. The trio were recent graduates of Community Unit District 300, where they were all valedictorians at each of the district's three high schools.

If that's not enough, the students share another commonality - one that may not be immediately visible, but is nonetheless striking.

Music is their bond, their background and likely their future.

A trombonist, Wise is on scholarship at Eastman, intent on obtaining a trombone performance degree.

Blogg began playing the piano at the age of 2 and added the trumpet to his repertoire while in the fifth grade. He received an academic scholarship, though he plans to be a doctor.

Way has mastered the piano and the French horn, but her passion is singing. Her soprano voice also earned her a scholarship at Northwestern, where she plans to major in vocal performance

But music has even deeper roots in the lives of these smart, successful young adults.

Each of their parents are music teachers; all six mothers and fathers lead general music, band or orchestra classes.

And another interesting fact it that every single valedictorian in District 300 last spring - including all nine of them at Jacobs High School - hailed from a musical background.

"All but three of the nine valedictorians at Jacobs were students of mine," said Kathy Way, who is Jenny Way's mother and a band instructor at Dundee Middle and Dundee-Highlands Elementary schools. …

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