By Kelley Andres for The Island Connection
Jacquintas Washington doesn’t know how he got the musical gene but he hopes that, one day, he will use histalent to teach music to others. “Music brings people together and can transform kids to find a purpose and to reach their goals by teaching focus and discipline,” he says.
Jacquintas grew up in Charleston and attended Fraser Elementary School where he played soccer, but he loved playing the viola, bass cello and African drums with the band at school even more. When he got to high school, a teacher placed a tuba into his hands and then he knew which path he belonged on.
In his first year at Burke High School, he was named “Freshman of the Year” and as the years progressed, so did the awards.
His marching band went to Regionals and All-State; he was also Rookie of the Year and received several awards to summer band camp. His teachers at Burke High School were a huge inspiration to Jacquintas, allowing him to travel to places like Ontario and New Orleans for different concerts.
During this same time, Jacquintas experienced tragic events that didn’t come to light until he accepted a scholarship to Benedict College where, shortly after arriving as a freshman, he became ill. “I didn’t realize that I had been keeping so many feelings pent up and they all just came spilling out,” he says quietly. “I just couldn’t do anything and finally I realized that I needed to get out of myself and to stop seeing people as a threat.”
Jacquintas used to come to the Neighborhood House when he was younger and saw how it really helped people get back on their feet. He believes it is a good place where people can see others living in difficult circumstances that they are going through. This shared experience uplifts people so they don’t feel so alone.
“Some people think homeless people are bad or something, but they are still children of God.” He began volunteering at the Neighborhood House and slowly he began to heal. Now Jacquintas volunteers on as many Thursdays as his busy college schedule will allow.
Today Jacquintas is enrolled at Trident Technical College, with a 3.4 grade point average, earning a degree in Education.
In order to honor those same teachers, Jacquintas’ goal is to also become a music teacher so he too can one day help inspire other students. Jacquintas sings in the choir at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on America Street, is on the Dean’s List at TTC and is trying to save money for a King’s Bb Tuba.
Volunteer Spotlight is a column in The Island Connection highlighting members of the community who give their time to help others. If you know of a volunteer who deserves the spotlight email email@example.com. If you’ d like to get involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach and make a positive change in someone’s life contact Maria Gurovich via phone 843.559.4109 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.