Inspiration. Service. Community. Achievement. These are the common themes woven through the life stories of the 2023 Longwood Alumni Award winners. The awards annually honor Longwood graduates and friends for their outstanding achievements and service to others. Selected by the Alumni Board, recipients inspire the world around them through their professional and philanthropic achievements, their contributions to their communities as citizen leaders and their loyalty to Longwood.

Tiarrah “T” Parker ’17 was the guru of everything music at Prince Edward County High School for six years. As the school’s only music teacher, Parker taught it all: band, choir, guitar, piano, music history, music theory and dual enrollment.

“It was a hectic load, but also really fun,” said Parker, who completed a master’s in music education and began work on a doctorate while teaching full time. Inspired by a middle- and high-school band director who became a father figure, Parker prioritized creating a culture of support and genuine acceptance for students.

“I love kids, I love people and I love music. I think blending them all together and creating that safe space where teenagers feel like they have an adult they can rely on, that was my ultimate inspiration to do music,” said Parker, who prefers the pronouns they/them/theirs.

“T is more than a band director. They are an amazing human being,” said Ronald Carricato ’27, who witnessed Parker’s commitment to music education as a high-school student.

Parker left PECHS this spring and is returning to Longwood this fall to teach a few courses in the music department. In addition, Parker serves as a diversity, equity and inclusion research specialist for a company and this summer became the co-owner of a new gym in Farmville.

“I’m pumped to come back and to be part of the music program and serve the community in a different way,” they said. “I like to have my hand in a lot of different things because I have a lot of different passions. That’s what keeps me on my toes and moving forward.

The Young Alumni Award is presented annually to an alum under 40 years old who has demonstrated excellence in their career or in citizen leadership.

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