Woodlawn High senior Ryan Wyche has been accepted into Berklee College of Music. This prestigious opportunity is the latest addition to an already-impressive resume that includes a wide range of local and national engagements. Wyche has also applied to Harvard University and hopes to take advantage of the Dual Degree program between the two schools. Upon receiving his acceptance, Ryan will declare two majors: one in Music Business and Management at Berklee and another in Sociology and African American Studies at Harvard.
From this unique educational experience, Ryan hopes to gain the skills and exposure necessary to start his own record label. He aims to cultivate a philanthropic community centered on the production of art. Wyche has always considered himself to be both a musician and an activist. Although he does not wish to enact change by running for public office or directly shaping legislation, Ryan is prepared in the event that he inherits a public platform. He looks to one of his idols, Billie Holiday. Holiday created intense, profound commentary through her art, and never let herself be defined by a singular label. Ryan wishes to mimic this fluidity and boldness.
Throughout his high school career, Ryan has participated in a myriad of activities around campus and within the surrounding community. Ryan is the WHS Student of the Year, Drum Major of the Panther Marching Band, and Chief Justice of the Louisiana Youth Legislature’s Supreme Court. He wakes up before most of his peers so that he may arrive early to school each morning and appear as a co-anchor on the WHS Morning Announcements. Ryan’s involvement is not limited to his immediate surroundings. He has attended conventions with the “100 Black Men of America,” and completed a summer study program in Boston at Berklee College of Music.
This is not meant to be a regurgitation of Ryan’s extensive resume‒ my goal is to paint a more personal picture of Senior Class President and Mr. Woodlawn, Ryan Wyche.
Having spent most of his life as a resident of various Southern cultural hubs, Ryan is well-versed in the ups and downs of Southern living. He spent most of his early life with a single father. His dad grew up in New York in the 80s, encapsulated by the birth of hip-hop. Ryan recalls that the highlights of his childhood often took place in the car with his dad, listening to music. The pros of life in the South have made themselves abundantly clear to him: having a large family, enjoying traditional southern meals, and so much more.
However, throughout the years, the cons have creeped in and created a sense of separation between Ryan’s geographical region and his identity. When Ryan moved from Atlanta to Virginia, he saw himself as “one of few black faces in the classroom.” He never had trouble finding internal similarities between himself and his classmates, but external differences often found a way to enforce division. Since moving to Louisiana and attending Woodlawn, Ryan is pleased with the diverse, yet harmonic community that he has found a unique place within.
As a proud member of the Woodlawn community, Ryan views his success as a representation of what happens when young adults take advantage of every single small opportunity for advancement. As he reflects on his experience here and looks forward to a bright future, Ryan feels that the thing he is most proud of is his little sister, Adrienne. If you asked him, Ryan would swear that Adrienne (4 years old) is already a prodigy, sure to make a mark on history. He relishes the relationship that he has created with her and is excited to watch her follow her own path; he’s certainly set an incredible example.