Nikkovia Sweet

Getting invaluable hands-on experience

When recent graduate Nikkovia Sweet began her Composition and Music Technologies studies at LaGrange College, she knew she had a lot to learn.

"I didn't know anything about composition," she says with a smile. "I was a lyricist. I had never written chords or harmonies, and I knew nothing about music technologies. But I knew I wanted to study music, and I knew I wanted to study here."

A native of Franklin, Ga., Nikkovia says she grew up hearing about LaGrange College.

"The school has a great reputation," she says. "I came for a visit and fell in love with the people,  the campus and the atmosphere. This was the place for me, because I knew I could grow as a person and as a student."

Her first opportunity came when she was assigned work-study with Paul Hammock, Technical Director for the Music program. She says her education began immediately.

"He got me working on recording and how to engineer, and it just expanded from there," she says. "I started working on a lot of student works, as well as my own. I also starting writing my own music that I am very proud of."

Hammock continued to give more and more responsibilities to his protégé, including filming events for Theatre Arts.

Nikkovia also worked for the college's Communications and Marketing Office.

"They hired me to stream some of the athletic events," she says. "It's been a great experience because I've learned a lot about action videography. When I filmed basketball, I had to figure out how to pan smoothly because the action is so fast-paced. I also had to learn how to get the right amount of crowd noise and to make sure that no one is yelling into the microphone."

In October 2013, she was approached with a new project.

"Patricia Barrett and Jacque Hornsby in the Suber Archives at Lewis Library discovered a box of old reel-to-reel tapes from the 1960s and 1980s, and they asked us if we could digitize them so they could be included in the collection."

David Wiggins, Acquisitions and General Assistant at the library, was able to acquire and refurbish a reel-to-reel player that was necessary for the project. Lee Johnson, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Music, served as Nikkovia's supervisor.

She completed the project in March, although there is still some work to be done to have the recordings available to the public.

"We're still figuring out the best way to get them on the library's archives page," Barrett says. "These recordings are significant. A few of them feature lectures and speeches by former president Waights G. Henry Jr., and you can even hear in the background the pipe organ that was lost in the 1971 Dobbs fire."

Nikkovia firmly believes projects like the archives assignment and the videography work are opportunities she would have never had at a larger college or university.

"I would not have gotten the close, hands-on experience that I've had here," she says. "I've learned so much about music technologies and composition, but I've also learned what I want to do with my life."

Nikkovia says she'd like to work in the audio, video and technological side of theater or the music industry.

"I always knew I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and wouldn't hate at the end of the day," she says.

"I found that direction here. They teach you all the things you will need to be professional, creative, a great employee and how to be successful in your endeavors. I got it all right here."

Friends for the Journey

LaGrange College attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. For example, our most recent incoming class consisted of men and women from 19 states and 10 countries, and included:

  • 76 members of Beta Club or the National Honor Society
  • 71 members of service organizations
  • 51 team captains in varsity sports
  • 25 leaders involved in student government, with 11 presidents
  • Three students involved in school publications, one as editor
  • Two Eagle Scouts
  • 20 musicians in band or orchestra
  • 18 singers in choir
  • 31 entertainers in performing arts
  • 85 students in religious activities.

But you don’t have to be a star in high school to succeed at LaGrange. Here, you’re given the opportunity to discover the best in yourself and find your destiny – all in a caring and supportive environment.