Ike Kamalu wraps up singing the National Anthem on day two of the Fayette County Special Olympics Basketball Tournament. The gym broke out in applause and cheers immediately following the performance, making Ike feel like a rock star.
After an awe-inspiring performance of the National Anthem at last week’s Fayette County Special Olympics Basketball Tournament, one student has claimed star status at Starr’s Mill High.
Ikenna Kamalu, who goes by Ike, is an 11th grader who has a passion for music. He uses singing as a form of expression and communication, according to his choral teacher Christy Todd, who collaborated with the Starr’s Mill Exceptional Children’s Department last year to start a music therapy class for students enrolled in the Community Based Vocational Instructional (CBVI) program.
“He can be having a hard day but the second he starts singing along to Rick Astley or Michael Jackson, his favorite artists, his demeanor immediately changes. Ike always smiles when he sings,” said Todd.
Ike is now taking his love for music to a new level as he learns how to sing and read music as part of the music therapy class that meets weekly. So impressed by his musical abilities, his teachers approached him in September about singing the National Anthem solo.
He was excited to show his pride about living in America; Ike is originally from Nigeria. He wanted to make his new country and school proud, so he practiced performing the anthem in music class, on the bus, and in elective classes. Concerned that not everyone would stand during the National Anthem, he even rehearsed asking people to stand and show respect for their country.
“We are proud to see Ike sharing his talents with classmates and teachers. His performance was awe-inspiring,” said Courtney Savage, a teacher in the Exceptional Children’s Services Department at Starr’s Mill.
Ike performed during the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament held at Starr’s Mill High on October 21 and 22. After his performances, he said, “I liked singing the National Anthem. Everyone cheered and I felt like a rock star.”
Ike is an inspiration to his classmates and entire student body. The day he sang the National Anthem for the Special Olympics, he also sang it during the school’s morning announcements. His performance was embraced with cheers from his schoolmates.
“It was amazing because in the halls you could hear the classes cheering for Ike after he finished singing. Ike has shown the students of Starr’s Mill that with practice and hard work you can do any thing,” said Todd.
Ike’s singing of the National Anthem was his debut, but his performances are far from over. On December 7 he will perform again, along with his music therapy class, at the school’s annual Christmas Concert at 7 pm in the Duke Auditorium at Starr’s Mill High.
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