17-year-old Sickles High School student finds beauty in music


The sweet peace he finds in music is one of the reasons 17-year-old Tony Nelson loves being in his school choir. It’s soothing to his soul.

“Music makes me happy. I listen to music. If I’m ever sad or depressed, I listen to music, I put on my headphones and I pretend like nothing in the world, just my music, me and my music,” Nelson explains.

Tony had to disconnect a lot. He’s bounced from foster home to foster home since he was a kid, never knowing what it’s like to belong.

“I wanted to feel like all the other kids at the school I went to. They’re like, Oh, my mom was gonna give me this, or my mom gives me that and I’m like, in my head. I’m ‘I don’t really know them. But on the outside, I was like, well, that’s cool. I wish I could have that,” Nelson said.

Through it all, he did his best to stay positive. That’s why his school nominated him for that public pat on the back.

Sickles High School counselor Ondrea Haydel said: “He’s always been a gentle spirit. Tony is resilient. He’s come back from a lot of things that, yeah, a lot of other students or other kids might think that’s me. would get out. . But for him, he bounces back, he has this ability to, even when times get tough, he bounces back. And we call that resilience.”

Tony focuses on channeling his pain toward a purpose, writing beautiful lyrics, inspired by his horrific past.

“So you can see me as a prankster for the other kids because I would fill in the uses of the deck where they would place offers,” he said while reading his words.

Nelson explains: “That pretty much describes my life that I went into. When I was a kid, when I was little, I used to be bullied because it’s really bad. It’s terrible to be bullied because I didn’t know my parents,” Nelson said.

Tony was adopted in 2019.

“Um, that’s pretty amazing. Honestly. I’ve never really had that kind of feeling,” Nelson says of feeling wanted.


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