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San Jacinto College
News Release
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

San Jacinto College music student receives prestigious Texas scholarship


PASADENA, Texas — San Jacinto College (SJC) student Gabriella Gilliam is one of five community college students in the state of Texas to receive the 2011 Texas Association of Music Schools (TAMS) Clara F. Freshour Nelson Scholarship.


The prestigious scholarship covers $1,500 in tuition expenses per semester and can be renewed over the course of three years and increase in time as Gilliam pursues music at a university. San Jacinto College holds pre-auditions each year for students to be considered for the state-level award. The soprano said the TAMS scholarship brings her much-needed financial assistance in her journey toward becoming a professional musician and, ultimately, a music education teacher.


"When I found out that I had received this scholarship, I felt relief," said Gilliam, who had initially struggled to get to San Jacinto College from her Kingwood home. "Growing up, there was a lot of instability in my home, and I wanted to start over somewhere and pursue music professionally. Because I didn't have a car, I moved in with my aunt who lives close to San Jacinto College. When I auditioned here, it just seemed right."


Gilliam spends hours practicing each day and enjoys singing opera and studying classical music. Eric Late, SJC Central Campus music department chair, said Gilliam is modest when it comes to her talent.


"Gabrielle is very modest but has a wonderful personality and is a true leader," said Late. "She has the desire to pursue music as a career. She's loves school and loves music; she's got what it takes."


Late said students like Gilliam represent the quality of music education provided at San Jacinto College, one that is comparable to the state's top four-year institutions.


"The four-year schools want our students now; they are beginning to take notice of the quality of music education here," said Late. "Our students can now compete on the same level as university students."


Gilliam will perform at the TAMS banquet in Austin in January. She plans to finish San Jacinto College in the Spring and is currently looking at a few universities for her transfer next Fall. Either way, she will continue to live by her motto.


"I think anybody can get what they want if they work hard enough," said Gilliam. "If you have a dream, you have to put the work in to make it happen."


Photo: San Jacinto College music student Gabriella Gilliam (center) stands beside her vocal professor Paul Brusselberg (left) and music department chair, Eric Late (right). Gilliam is one of five community college students in the state to receive the Texas Association of Music Schools Clara F. Freshour Nelson Scholarship. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng-Armao, San Jacinto College marketing department.


About San Jacinto College: Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The College, an Achieving the Dream Leader College, is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in over 140 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. Our graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.


For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook at

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