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Bridge Through Music

Academics, athletics, music, and community service are all areas of interest for Kaori Graham-Myrie ’24; Mercersburg Academy has given him the opportunity to delve deeply into them all. 

During his senior year, he explored and developed his interests and skills through his senior capstone project, while also making an impact on the local community. Capstone projects foster original thinking and allow students to proliferate their own ideas while producing compelling work in preparation for college. 

As principal viola in the Mercersburg String Ensemble, Kaori credits conductor and mentor Michael Cameron P ’26 for being instrumental in his musical progression and giving him the opportunity to play a solo contemporary piece during the spring concert last year. 

Kaori Graham-Myrie '24 Teaching

Kaori has taken his love of music and interest in teaching and developed what he considers his most important work—a community engagement project called Bridge Through Music. He is especially proud that it is self-created and pleased that Mercersburg has given him the freedom and ability to develop it and sustain it on his own.

Every Sunday throughout his senior year, Kaori selflessly volunteered his time to teach local elementary and middle school students viola and violin lessons. He enjoyed seeing them grow musically and hopes that after he graduates, other Mercersburg students will continue the program. 

“I like teaching,” said Kaori. “I think the project has allowed me to access the nonacademic side of my brain, let go of the rigor and the stress from all of the homework and focus on something that I enjoy, the music and the orchestral pieces, and the lessons, too,” he said.

The planning and approval process for Bridge Through Music presented real-life lessons for Kaori. Initially, he reached out to Emily Parsons, director of community engagement, then drew up a year’s long plan and submitted it to Mercersburg’s Risk Management Committee for approval. 

“I had to then bring it to the Tuscarora School District and the superintendent, Mr. Rodney Benedict,” said Kaori. “Then, he brought it to all of the music teachers, and I had to sit in this room and pitch my idea and see how they would respond to it. They all loved the idea,” he said. “I ended up getting about 15 people interested, but now I have eight students.”

Kaori’s path to Mercersburg started with his father, former Regent Jamil Myrie ’93, and other members of his family who are part of the community, including his uncle and aunt, Tesfa Myrie ’94 and Makeda Myrie ’96, and cousin, Malaika Mankey-Akogbeto ’26.

Besides music, Kaori is also academically motivated. He spends time over breaks and in the summer interning at a dental practice in New York where he shadows doctors. His interest in the medical field extends beyond dentistry, and Kaori believes Mercersburg is preparing him with rigorous academics and stem-related courses. He is impressed with Mercersbug’s many pre-med offerings and wishes he had more time to take them all.

Kaori has served as a Mercersburg ambassador, been a dorm prefect in Tippetts Hall, and is a member of the Black Student Union. He is also engaged with athletics, having played varsity basketball for three years, ran cross country this fall, participated in winter and now spring track.

Kaori is grateful for his Mercersburg experience and will graduate from the Academy prepared for college, for his career, and for leading and serving the world. 

“It’s been so beneficial for my growth in this period of my life,” he said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to have my high school experience anywhere else.”