When it comes to succeeding against the odds, Markeise knows no bounds. Markeise Russell grew up in Chicago, living in his aunt’s home as the result of struggles in the personal lives of his parents. He didn’t know his parents well. As a child Markeise suffered from the effects of feeling unloved and unwanted by his parents.
His aunt told Markeise, his sister and her two children that education was the most important thing in their lives. She worked several jobs, and the children went without the latest clothes, toys and other things in order to complete lower school education in Catholic schools. Everyone pitched in to help, working odd jobs as teenagers.
It was in church that Markeise realized his love of music. He saved up and bought a used, beat-up saxophone and began practicing … up to six hours a day. Practice paid off. Before long, Markeise had joined Chicago’s Horner Park Jazz Band and was playing in high school and local jazz ensembles.
Markeise studied music during a summer at Berklee College of Music in Boston, funded by a high school scholarship, and has his life goals clearly in focus – to become a music educator. He is concerned about dwindling arts and music education in America, particularly in inner city communities, and dreams of one day opening a special school for the performing arts for children in poverty stricken communities and for kids with disabilities.
He believes that unique doors of opportunity will open for young people through the arts and music.
Category: First Generation InitiativePrint This Post