Scholar of the Week
Robert Allen IV of Thomas Jefferson High School
By Janeal Downs
With a mother who used to sing backup for visiting artists at the Richmond Coliseum; growing up in a musical church; an elementary school teacher who played the saxophone; and, sickness a mentor with a musical family, seek growing up Robert Allen IV had numerous sources of influences and connections to the musical world. “Music has been a rock in my life that has saved me from a detrimental path that the environment I grew up in entices, medical ” Robert stated in an essay. He plans to embrace his passion and gifts to spread joy in others’ lives. Not only does Robert sing tenor, but he has also played the saxophone for nine years and the electric bass for seven years.
With a love for music, Robert will expand on his knowledge by going to college and pursuing a degree in music education. He looks forward to not only getting the chance to practice with the other performance majors, but also become certified as a teacher. “Music is a dying art form in schools that I want to help revive,” Robert stated in an essay. “I believe that I am destined to pursue music; it is my passion.” His top two choices for college are Morgan State University in Baltimore and Christopher Newport University in Newport News. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Robert plans to pursue a master’s degree in music therapy, because it “emphasizes everything that I believe is possible through music.” Not only has he felt a calling to music but also through ministry; and, because of this, Robert has plans to pursue a Masters of Divinity sometime in the future.
While he wants to give back through music education and therapy in the future, Robert already serves the community, which is one of his favorite activities. He does community service at the HomeAgain Homeless Shelter and as a volunteer at Bethlehem Baptist Church where he helps feed the homeless on fourth Sundays. “I’ve been through a lot in my life and being able to help other people who have been through things, especially children, is very dear to my heart,” Robert said. He is also a part of the Richmond youth group Zion’s Voice gospel choir and the Gospel Music Workshop of America’s Richmond chapter. The Gospel Music Workshop encouraged his individuality and has taught him that “music is more than just an art style, it’s more than just a job people have to do, it is a life and it is a story just as painting, acting or even just telling people.”
This year, he played for his school’s football team and he is a member of Richmond Public School’s Jazz Band. Among other extracurricular activities, Robert is the Commander of his school’s JROTC. While he is not sure if he will join the military, he does plan to stay connected through ROTC in college. He took four dual-enrollment courses at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, has been a member of the Mayor’s Youth Academy for five years and was the vice president of the Future Leader’s Council for two years.
One of the most inspirational people in Robert’s life is his grandfather who died from cancer last year. “He was the person who bought me my first instrument, he was the one that was always on me about practicing,” Robert said. Because His grandfather, the son of a sharecropper, started his own photography business in the past, Robert was able to appreciate both his hard work and constant support of Robert’s talents.
One thing Robert wants to share with the community is that “regardless of the things that you’ve been through, it is up to you for you to decide what your future has for yourself.” Robert said that the goals he has set for himself are so he can be inspired to one day give back to the youth of the future. He wants to show them that he did it, and it is just as possible for them, as well.