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Elite student, dedicated singer, author, composer, poet, dancer, and a role model for many – adults included. Tahraji Milsap is on a path destined to consist of several special achievements.
“Being focused is the key,” she said. “My parents always encourage me to do my best in everything I do.”
The eighth grader, who attends Ewing Marion Kaufman School, has a 4.3 grade point average. Tahraji’s academic excellence is not a surprise.
At a young age, she’s become a well-rounded individual, according to LEGACY President and CEO Jonathan Smith. “Tahraji is a brilliant young lady,” Smith said. “I have witness her confidence level grow immensely. She’s starting to believe in her abilities.”
Latasha Milsap admires her daughter’s determination. “Tahraji wants to succeed. She always strives for a high GPA. I was a good student, but I never got the kind of grades that she has,” Mrs. Milsap stated. “Tahraji applies her education to real life situations. She’s not just doing the work to get the assignments done. It’s all very impressive.”
Tahraji, who is part of the Kansas City Alvin Ailey dance company, has also participated in LEGACY’s Theater Arts Program. Through the summertime initiative, the youth learned a lot about what she’s capable of.
“The LEGACY Theater Arts Program gave Tahraji an outlet to develop her individual voice. She says she’s a little shy. But when it’s time to perform, she’s not shy,” Mrs. Milsap said. “I’ve seen her sing on stage in front of lots of people. I’ve watched her sing in a studio. I have watched her act in plays. So that program helped her discover her passion in life.”
“Being in the LEGACY program helped me with my confidence. I also got a chance to meet some new people,” Tahraji said. “I enjoyed seeing their talents and feeding off what they were able to do. I really appreciate that program.”
Regarding Tahraji’s book, it’s a fusion of sci-fi and mystery. As for the music she has composed, the songs are typically of the rock and pop variety.
“All creativity I have comes from God. But once I realized I had a vivid imagination I began to express it. Plus, I have a lot of writing influences in my family. My grandmother is a storyteller. My mother writes lullabies and my father writes poetry. I also read a lot. That makes a difference as well.”
Mrs. Milsap marvels at her daughter’s growth. “Tahraji is an amazing child. I’ve had teachers tell me that Tahraji is their idol,” she said. “I’m always shocked that these professional adults want to be like my 13-year-old daughter. I’m honored to have a part in Tahraji’s growth. I just tell her to keep God first, and she can do anything.”
The youth has mixed emotions about the compliments. “In some ways it’s flattering. But in some ways, it makes me nervous,” she admitted. “Doing my best is what I’m supposed to do. It’s nice to receive recognition. However, it’s not something I really need.”
Tahraji is likely to have a multitude of great moments and special accolades coming her way, leading to even more praise. “I see great things coming from her,” Smith said. “She’s one of those people who you know are going to do well throughout their life.”