Friday, August 7, 2020

CHS Grad, Asante Sefa-Boakye, Cultivates Community Through Music and Teaching

Asante Sefa-Boakye has been part of the Coronado community all his life. He jokes, “I attended the Coronado trinity- Village, CMS, and CHS.” Asante says, “Coronado has exposed me to community, that sense of family. It’s felt in the schools, sports teams, small businesses.” It is that community that Asante cultivates in everything he does. Asante is an Olympic level water polo player, a rapper, and a teacher. His passion is to inspire and that, he does.

Photo courtesy of Sam Madnick

Musical Journey

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Asante is a self proclaimed, “band geek.” He grew up playing piano and performed with the trumpet in Village band. In middle school, his focus was on the bass guitar. In high school, he continued with the bass guitar and percussion as a freshman and sophomore. His focus then switched to the Coronado High School Water Polo team- a renowned program that takes a lot of persistence and determination. However, he still made time for school spirit. Asante was elected Commissioner of Pep his senior year, and won the inaugural Mr. Tiki pageant – performing always finding a way into his life.

When he went off to college, Asante intended to follow in his dad’s footsteps. Dr. Kofi D. Sefa-Boakye has his office in Coronado. While Asante began a pre-med program he ended up switching to psychology, explaining, “It was less demanding and allowed me more time to focus on music. I think, subconsciously, my goal was always to go a music and performance route.”

Teaching Journey

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Currently, Asante balances his rap career with teaching in the Coronado school district. While he does one off subbing, he has often subbed long term. Last year he spent a few months subbing for his former water polo coach, Randy Burgess, and before COVID-19 he was contracted for another months long subbing assignment for his former Spanish teacher, Steve Merrill. Of these experiences, Asante shares, “I have a handful of idols I look up to that now I can call my peers.” (see other former Coronado students who returned to teach here).

Asante also has several Coronado students that he tutors. “It was interesting to tutor in Spanish and then when I would sub Spanish, it would allow me to see it from both angles. It’s a sense of accomplishment seeing the students apply what they have learned.” Asante shares about one student who he helped bring his GPA up from a 1.7 to a 3.0, that’s an especially proud moment for him. But Asante also talks about how it’s more than just grades and numbers, “When I get a phone call about a college acceptance, or when someone reaches out to me after just getting a test back – the connection is the rewarding part.”

Photo Courtesy of Asante Sefa-Boakye

Current Performance Journey

Connection is also the reason he thrives in his music career. This April, Asante celebrates one year of being the host of North Park’s Lyrical Exchange at Queen Bee’s. “The previous host chose me, he said that no one else could maintain the same energy and spirit.” Asante hosts but he also raps, going by the name of Santé Prince. As the host, “I put a lot of effort into making it go smooth. But once I hit the stage, I’m on autopilot.” Lyrical Exchange takes place every Thursday night. Asante explains, “People come to express themselves and I enjoy giving back to an open mic that helped shape me. It started out as poetry and I would freestyle, since I took over I’ve been able to give it a new spin.”

Life During COVID-19

COVID-19 has effected Asante and his many roles, “My career as music and tutoring is the opposite of social distancing!” he laughs. Asante notes, “and my subbing as been put on hold per the district.” Not one to turn away from adversity, he has found a way to continue tutoring and hosting his open mic by utilizing the video conference platform Zoom. “I still tutor and mentor students to help with distance learning. While the in person human contact has taken a hit, I am still able to tutor in Spanish, English, history, and math. A lot of what I do is also life skills and building a success plan. I tell the kids, ‘what’s more important than doing the work? Turning it in!'”.

With large groups currently banned, Asante is also getting creative with his music. “DJ Red Light and I did a car, live streaming concert,” he shares as an example. He also finds the silver lining, “COVID-19 has enhanced my productivity because I have to get creative. I never saw myself doing a booked show as a live stream, but I’m joining in what all the celebrities are doing.”

Photo Courtesy of Asante Sefa-Boakye

What Comes Ten Years Post CHS Graduation

There are a few things Asante was looking forward to that are now put on hold. Before COVID-19, Asante had hosted an open mic night at CHS through CoSA, something he was excited to do again before the schools shut down. He was also asked to be the opener for CHS’ Mr. Tiki. In addition, Asante shares, “someone recommended I plan the CHS 2010’s 10 year reunion- I was brainstorming it too, maybe a concert… we will see.”

Asked about how he feels ten years after his high school graduation, Asante smiles, “It’s pretty accurate what I thought. I am still playing music, I have played water polo professionally in a few countries. I performed at The House of Blues, the Observatory, the Casbah. Also, I am doing a lot of work in the community. I organized a few San Diego Festivals, one of which- San Diego Chella, gained the attention of Coachella management and I got a cease and desist letter for 50K,” Asante laughs.

Photo Courtesy of Asante Sefa-Boakye

Be sure to follow Asante as his next single drops April 30th. You can follow his Instagram here.

 

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Alyssa K. Burns
Alyssa is a graduate of Coronado High School and was in the founding broadcast journalism class at CHS. She earned her BA in Communication from CSU East Bay and completed her MBA from CSU San Marcos. Her passion for writing and interest in the behind the scenes of business, leads her to write frequently about Coronado businesses. You can find Alyssa walking around the ferry landing with her husband and shih-tzu terrier or enjoying a cup of coffee at one of Coronado's favorite cafes.Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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