There is a voice ringing from a nearby bathroom as you walk down the hallway–wait, what?
Her name is Gwendolyn Colmes, a building service worker at RHS. Many students have heard her voice throughout the school.
“Her voice is impeccable,” junior Grace Cajayon said after hearing her sing one day after school. “I thought, “Dang, who is that?a��”
Colmes intrigues not only the student body but also the faculty and staff with her voice.
“She is an outgoing and very vibrant person,” interpreting services coordinator Cheryl Lee said. “She is always a shining moment in my day.”
Colmes has worked at RHS for five years, and for MCPS for over 20. She was raised in Maryland with a musically gifted and inclined family: aunts and uncles who played the piano, and a grandfather and his twin brother who had a band.
Colmes does not just sings; she also plays the tambourine and the congas in her free time.
“My mother always thought I had potential to become a professional singer,” Colmes said. “But my father refused to let me go to Duke Ellington School of Arts High School, so I had to give up that dream.”
Though her father paid for her older sister’s tuition, he decided to not let Colmes attend the school because he was worried that she would be negatively influenced.
In high school, Colmes’ peers encouraged her to pursue a singing career. Yet because of her stage fear and shyness, Colmes could not move beyond singing in the choir.
After high school, Colmes became a stay-at-home mom, raised three boys and then went on to college where she earned a degree in medical billing codes. Now she is a grandmother to six children, and passionately wants to return to school.
Colmes wants to go back to school in order to study childhood education. She enjoys helping others and working with children and the elderly.
Although she aspires to join the teaching community, Colmes still hopes to make something out of her musical talent. Colmes continues to sing in her free time, and also takes advantage of invitations to perform at church services and weddings.
“I aspire to become what I have always dreamed,” Colmes said. “If something tells you deep inside to do it, then do it.”