“I am from Jackson (MS). I went to Provine High School. What brought me to JSU was, first of all, my major, which is education. But also the Sonic Boom of the South.  I was introduced to the Sonic Boom when I was in eighth grade. I attended a trombone clinic that was hosted by a couple of JSU trombone players – one was a guy named Travis Pruitt. And through Travis I was introduced to my high school band director, who also played trombone at JSU. They both got me here and showed me the way. And, I fell in love with the school and the band when I got here.

My favorite experience in the band so far is being a Drum Major. This is the epitome of student leadership. I pride myself on being a leader and being able to perform with a high level of showmanship. That’s pretty much the best feeling.

But, my passion is education. People usually say they want to be a teacher because they love kids. But it’s deeper than that. You have to have a passion for education and a passion for knowledge to be an educator. I had a history teacher in high school who would sometimes stress herself out, a lot, for us to be able to pass those state tests. But with that, I saw her passion and drive. I looked at that and said I want to be a teacher one day to be able to impact students’ lives, and have them actually care about their education.

The obvious challenge is that there aren’t a lot of young black male teachers in the field today.  And, I want to challenge other black males to get in the classroom. Because we’re needed there. We have to see the importance of it and understand the impact that we could have.

Also, the other challenge would be, breaking the stereotype that black males are thugs and hoodlums. So, my ultimate goal is educational leadership. I want to start from the bottom with elementary education and just work my way through.

I want to be able to show other kids/students that you can get a good education and be successful and as for other black males, to be able to be that role model for them so they can see somebody that genuinely cares about education.”

                       – Tyler, senior elementary education major from Jackson. Tyler is one of the five drum majors in the ’17-’18 Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band.