PROSPECT — Region 16 has its first Nutmeg Scholar.
Woodland Regional High School senior Rex Sturdevant, 18, received the Nutmeg Scholarship from University of Connecticut this year.
“It means a lot,” said Sturdevant, who lives in Prospect. “To see all of my hard work culminate, especially during this year, means a lot. That it all wasn’t for nothing. That it all means something.”
Sturdevant is the first Woodland student to win the Nutmeg Scholarship.
“We’re just real proud of this young man. It’s a real distinguished honor,” Woodland Principal Arnold Frank said. “It’s an honor for him and for us, too.”
According to UConn’s website, the scholarship honors the exceptional accomplishments of Connecticut high school seniors. Nutmeg Scholars receive four years of tuition, room and board free at UConn.
Sturdevant was recognized both for his academic achievements and for his achievements with the music program at the high school.
“I’m heavily involved with the fine arts program at Woodland, specifically the instrumental music. I got involved my freshman years just in band, and over the years I got more and more involved. Last year I took over the percussion ensemble here at Woodland because the position was cut to half-time … so I took that on. I chose the music, I led the rehearsals,” Sturdevant said.
In January Sturdevant was told he was a finalist for the scholarship and was brought in for an interview with the scholarship committee.
“We went to the interview and they said, ‘You’ll here back from us in a week.’ I waited the week and it was on the seventh day I got a letter in the mail that said I had gotten it. I was really ecstatic,” Sturdevant said. “I couldn’t really believe it, that I had gotten such a substantial scholarship to UConn.”
Sturdevant has also been accepted to Yale University, but being awarded the scholarship from UConn led to a decision he never expected to make.
“I did get accepted to Yale, but I did turn them down as well, which I never thought I would ever do,” Sturdevant said.
Sturdevant said he chose UConn over Yale for a few reasons — not the least of which is the scholarship.
“So, it was just the best decision for me economically to go to UConn. I know that the education I would receive at UConn would be equal to what I would receive at Yale,” Sturdevant said.
Sturdevant plans to study music education and feels UConn offers the best program for him.
UConn’s music program consists of two bachelor degrees, one in music education and one in music performance, and a master’s degree in education.
“That’s a really great program to get involved in,” Sturdevant said.
Upon completing the program Sturdevant would be certified to teach music for all grade levels.
“Anything in there I would be happy to work with, whether it’s elementary chorus, high school band, or middle school orchestra. I’d be really happy to just dive in and do my best at whatever I get involved in,” Sturdevant said.
Sturdevant said ultimately he will like to become a professor of music at a college, but feels that it is important to have experience with different schools first.
Even though the scholarship was in recognition of his hard work at Woodland, Sturdevant knows that he could not have achieved it without help.
“I’d just like to say that I am really grateful to the guidance department and to UConn for the scholarship and to the staff who supported me through my four years at high school. I really appreciated it all,” Sturdevant said.