Donovan Williams: Ahead Of The Game

Donovan W. (‘21) is not your average eighth grader. According to Excellence Perry (‘17), he is “the next big thing” and  “has the character and physical potential to do anything that he wants to.” Perry hits it on the head; Donovan is a violin prodigy and budding football, baseball, and track star. Yet, with all of these extraordinary talents, Donovan manages to be one of the most humble and authentic people I have ever met. He’s never hesitated to thank the people that help him to reach his potential, such as his grandmother, father, his private teacher, Collegiate, and, most importantly to him, God.

Donovan began playing the violin at the age of two when his grandma “tucked it under his chin.” Donovan says that he did not truly have a passion for the instrument until the age of nine, but something must have happened in those seven years to get him to where he is now. As is required for anyone to be extraordinary at something, Donovan has a great deal of natural talent. His grandmother helped him to realize his natural talent by being an admirable musical role model. Donovan’s grandmother played the violin for decades and just stopped being a member of an orchestra recently because her rehearsal schedule conflicted with Donovan’s, making it difficult for him to get to practice.

On top of playing for Collegiate’s orchestra under the direction of music teacher Helen Coulson, Donovan is also a first violinist in the Richmond Youth Orchestra. Being first violinist means that you are a part of the best violinist section, which is quite a feat for an eighth grader. Donovan has also had the fortune of playing with the youtube-based music stars The Piano Guys. Donovan currently plays the traditional violin primarily, but lately he has begun trying out the more modern electric violin. With the electric violin, he hopes to eventually play “Skrillex-inspired sounds” on the violin. With his talent, Donovan hopes to go to college at Indiana University and play in their orchestra. Donovan also hopes to walk onto one of their sports teams.

What makes Donovan’s case so unusual is that he has talents in both the concert hall and on the athletic fields. Before he played for Cub sports, music was his primary passion. But ever since he discovered his love for “being part of a team,” music and athletics have split his time and energy. Donovan exhibits all of the statistics of a stellar athlete and could have a future in any of the three sports he currently competes in. In football, he is a standout running back, and in track and baseball he is also a notable player. As an eighth grader, he was one of the fastest members of the track team, all while remaining humble. His dream is to play in the NFL, but if that doesn’t work out he wants to be a music producer. Donovan has so many talents that his life will ultimately come down to how he wants to succeed, not if he will.


*This article has been updated

About the author

Sam Hunter is a senior at Collegiate.