2023 Students of Distinction

Evanté Heming rose above tough times with help from music

Posted on May 12th, 2023 By:

Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles of each of the Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. The students will be honored during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Student: Evanté Heming

School: Peninsula High School

Category: Overcoming Adversity

Evanté Heming spent much of his childhood in foster care. He dreamed of being a “normal kid living with my normal family,” but in the process he gained a unique perspective on life. Sometime things were good, but often “life was not the best,” he said. At age 11, he was adopted and life got better.

In spite of the ups and downs and uncertainty, early on Evanté gained a deep appreciation of the power of music. “In my best times and my worst times, music has always allowed me to spread my wings and fly,” he said.

Evante Heming

Finding his voice

Violin was his first instrument and in the fifth and sixth grades he played violin in the school orchestra. In the seventh grade he discovered percussion and started playing drums in his middle school band. One of his most memorable experiences was playing in the school’s rock band in front of the entire school. “My band mates were kind of nervous but we had a blast and that fueled my passion for a career in music,” he said.

Along the way, he also took voice lessons and taught himself to play guitar. But percussion is his forte, as evidenced by the fact that he is section leader for the percussion section in the PHS bands.

He especially enjoys playing in the jazz band, and also plays in the marching band and at athletic events. As section leader, his job is to “make sure that my group is on top of their music and respectful to each other and everyone else in the band. And respectful to everyone outside the band.”

Recently he also discovered a love for acting. He was in the school play, “Puffs” – a parody of Harry Potter. It proved to be one of his favorite things. That, and playing in the jazz band. “I really love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when I perform. That feeling is like a gift that comes from your heart,” he said.

Evanté also shines academically and is in National Honor Society.

‘Walking support unit’

He’s proud that the people in his household, and the people he surrounds himself with in school, are people “who are trying to find ways to fix the problems in the world. They’re people you can rely on for listening and emotional support. I try to be one of those people that others can come to — I’m a walking support unit. You can know that when we’re talking I’m giving my time and my full attention to you.

As a foster kid, Evanté experienced more than his share of challenges. In general, he said, challenges usually center on people who just don’t want to give credit where it’s due. “They’ll test you and try to ruin your life. I fear for my kids and my kids’ kids and others who put in all the work to make the world a better place and other people just don’t care. One of our biggest problems is cell phones and electronics that take away our personal, face-to-face contact with each other,” he said. “We just need to learn how to respect each other and all get along.”

Determination and grit

PHS math teacher Nicole Gere noted that “when Evanté puts his mind to something there is no stopping him. His determination and grit is unmatched by his peers. He is the poster-student for a growth-mindset. He is a stellar student. And he’s also an amazing drummer.”

Evanté’s advice to younger students is, “Be patient. Some kids are just mean and want to bring you down. But those who want to do harm – it will come back to them. Also, try to keep an open mind – open to new ideas and open to help from others. Learn to listen and listen to learn and to understand. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. I’ve learned that my teachers want to help me improve and I appreciate that.”

Although he’s not certain what his next step will be, Evanté knows that his goal is to be a music educator and to do some kind of performing art, whether that’s music or theater or something else. He’s tentatively planning to go to TCC this fall, then possibly transfer to a Florida university because, since he was in foster care in Florida, he can go to any school there, tuition free.

Evanté Heming

Parents: Kim & Chris Heming

Activities/Achievements: National Honor Society; percussion section leader PHS bands; plays drums, violin, guitar; acted in “Puffs” school play

Favorite teacher: Ms. Lancaster. “She was my history teacher in 11th and 12th grade. She taught me so many things about history. She deserves a Teacher of the Year award.”

Best thing about PHS: “I enjoy the sense of community that my school has. The community is welcoming and everyone is always helping everyone. It’s a great place to make your own family and meet new people from many different backgrounds.”