In 1987, Terrion Reese Nelson was elected Miss FAMU by a thin seven-votemargin over Sherrie Chatmon. Nelson believed there was more to being a queen than wearing a crown. Today, she still stands by that principle as an advocate for education in the community.
Nelson graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. Shortly after graduation, Nelson became a music teacher in the Palm Beach County School District, where she has worked hard to make an impact for the last 31 years.
“Music is a healing art; it gives me great pleasure to share the joy of music and song through performing, teaching, and being a choral director at school and in the community,” Nelson said.
Nelson is pursuing her goal, and now she’s leading students to do the same.
Not only is she a music teacher, but she is also a conductor and director of the county’s award-winning ensemble for Spotlight on Young Musicians. Each summer Nelson hosts a festival for the county’s iInner-city youth, Getting There.
In 2019, Nelson and a few others fought to keep ICY open despite the lack of funds because she wanted to keep students productive and critically involved.
Ray Nelson II, founder and director of Synergy Percussion whose goal is to also connect, educate, and inspire young musicians, talks about his mother’s endeavors and love for people.
“Despite what obstacles are put in front of her, she’s going to do all she can to overcome it. Her passion for God is the core of who she is. Her passion to help and love people is a direct representation of that,” Nelson II said.
Nelson’s hard work in the community has paid off as she was acknowledged by the Raymond F. Kravis Center for her hard work as an exemplary instructor and awarded the teacher of the month. In 2019, she was one of the Women of Excellence honorees and was presented with an art award by the West Palm Beach Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Nelson’s friend, Carlotta Mitchell, said Nelson’s love for the community is impossible to miss.
“I’ve known Terrion for a long time, so I can tell she’s a virtuous woman. All that Terrion does, you realize that the passion that she has for children is incredible and irreplaceable. God made no error in selecting Terrion to be a part of the life of these children who she has taught and is teaching now,” Mitchell said.
Nelson, formerly known as Miss FAMU 1987-1988, once again has proven there is more to being a queen than wearing a crown. Now Nelson is known as the first black conductor for the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches. Nelson continues to serve in the community and represent FAMU through all her accomplishments.