Award-winning Wilson teen pianist gets 12 college offers, says music isn't his future

WILSON, N.C. (WTVD) -- When 18-year-old Chibuike "Chibby" Uwakwe sits down at the piano, amazing things happen. He loves classical music, especially the French Impressionists.

"Debussy and Ravel," he told ABC11. "Right now, I'm leaning towards Ravel. I really like Ravel."

Chibby, a graduating senior at Wilson's Fike High School, is a fan of jazz, as well.

His music repertoire also includes when he performs as accompanist for the Fike High School Chorus and his church youth choir.

His long-time piano teacher at ProMusic Conservatory in Wilson, Dr. Gayla Turk, realized early on how exceptional he was.

"When he first started at 8 years old I knew, it didn't take me long, within the first few weeks, that he was extraordinary," Turk said. "I would assign the stuff, he'd come back, he'd learned it. He just picked it up so quickly. And my first thought was, I've got to work doubly hard here to keep enough material to keep this young man interested in moving forward."

The skilled pianist has who has won multiple awards including the Omega Psi Phi Piano Award.

Chibby is a first-generation American born to parents who came here from Nigeria.

Although his musical talents are impressive, so is his high school career. It includes being in the International Baccalaureate program and being on the Fike track team.

In fact, when he applied to 12 prestigious universities, he found himself getting acceptance letters from all of them.

"I was accepted to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania," Chibby said. "In North Carolina, I was accepted to Duke, NC State, UNC-Charlotte and (UNC) Chapel Hill."

His impressive offers don't stop there.

"I was offered a Levine Scholarship at UNC-Charlotte, which is a full ride. And also the Park Scholarship at NC State, which is also a free ride. And I was also offered hefty scholarships at other schools like Chapel Hill and Columbia."

As you might imagine, Chibby's father and mother are very proud of their son's achievements, but also of the fine young man he's become.

"We thank God for his accomplishments," said his father, Evan Uwakwe. "He works hard, he's focused, he knows what he wants to do. It gives us pleasure to see that he's grounded. He's rounded and grounded."

Although music is an abiding passion with Chibby, he doesn't want to make it his career. Instead, he wants to be a surgeon so he can help people through their medical difficulties.

"Surgery and piano are similar in that you have to use your fingers intricately when you're doing surgery, right? So that's why I'm leaning towards that as well."

But first, he's got to pick a college, and with all those great offers on the table, which one will it be?

Chibby decided to attend Harvard University. He will graduate in 2023.
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