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VIDEO: Rutgers’ Mason Gross Taps Quadruple Performing Artist ‘Pact’ From East Orange Elite Cicely L. Tyson High School

East Orange

Real EstateBy: Richard L. Smith 

The journey of four Essex County graduated seniors, Mr. Kelvin R. Langevine Jr., Taye Forde, Ricardo Reid Jr., and Mesai Williams, all from East Orange, is one of unity, perseverance, and a shared passion for the arts.

Graduating from Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts, these exceptional young men have etched their names in NJ's history by securing spots at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick.


Under the bold leadership of East Orange School District Superintendent AbdulSaleem Hasan, Ed.S., Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts School has blossomed into a premier institution for performing arts in Essex County.

Driven by Superintendent Hasan and Assist Superintendent Ms. Anita Champagne's vision of excellence, the school has nurtured these four young artists, fostering respect, honesty, and compassion.

Click HERE for the group's Instagram page. 

Their experiences are a testament to dedication and collaboration.

A pact formed between them; their achievements speak of both individual talent and collective strength.

Despite their exceptional skill sets, their courteous manners and eagerness to share their phenomenal stories speak volumes about their character.

Here, I highlight a piece of their background and rise to gain acceptance to one of the nation's higher-level education theater departments: 

Taye Forde: Sprouting Creative From the Caribbean to Aspiring Actor at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts

Born in Bridgetown, Barbados, Taye Forde's life took a transformative turn when he arrived in the United States (US) in April 2014. Taye told RLS Media that initially, he was a young boy with no artistic inclinations.


His life path has led him to become a devoted actor, poised to attend Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick for his professional career.

Taye's educational path began at the Cicely L. Tyson Elementary School of the Performing and Fine Arts. Initially placed in the visual arts program, his world shifted when his art teacher went on maternity leave.

Forced to pivot, Taye said he found his adoration for theater and acting blossoming.

"I want to honor my friends, family and mentors. 'Glory be to God' who founded me. The lessons that I learned will elevate me to stardom." -Taye Forde

The trajectory led him to the Whitney E. Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, where he solidified his dreams under the guidance of Mr. Stephen Lombard. Here, Taye met his lifelong friend, Kelvin, sharing countless performances and competitions, eventually reaching high school together at The Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts.

Taye's journey was marked by fortitude. He told RLS Media that he participated in Black Box productions vibrantly, rekindling his love for theater. Amid the tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taye battled depression, finding solace in the production of "Dreamgirls" that rejuvenated his spirit.


With the return of in-person education, his fervor for theater surged, and he embraced numerous opportunities to perform.

Dreaming big, Taye applied to his dream school, Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, initially facing a waitlist. Doubts crept in, but on July 18th, his fortunes shifted when Mr. Cameron Knight extended an invitation to join the B.F.A program. Gratefully accepting, Taye now looks forward to attaining his B.F.A.

Starting this fall he will be acting at Rutgers, a program he'll undertake alongside his cherished friends Kelvin, Mesai, and Ricky.

From a young Caribbean boy to a budding actor with a bright future, Taye Forde's story is evidence of the power of perseverance, ardor, and the supportive bonds of friendship.

Ricardo Reid Jr: From Struggles to Success, United by Passion for Theater

Ricardo Reid Jr.'s transition from Arizona back to New Jersey has been marked by transformative growth, turning challenges into triumphs, and finding lifelong friendships rooted in a shared love for theater.


In his earlier years, Ricardo struggled to find his purpose and direction. His disinterest in school and lack of motivation led to suspensions, poor grades, and conflicts with his family. Realizing the need for change, his family made a pivotal decision to move him back to New Jersey to live with his father, who he believed could guide him onto a better path.

Ricardo's interest in theater ignited during a role as the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast" at a Catholic school. This newfound love motivated him to audition for the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, an opportunity that shaped his high school years.

"I want to send out a deep appreciation to God and my family for keeping me on a safe path. Also, mentors who taught me that I am more powerful than what I thought. I want to thank my friends for challenging me" -Ricardo Reid Jr. 

The start of his high school acting career introduced him to Kelvin, sparking a rivalry that would evolve into a friendship of mutual encouragement.

Ricardo formed strong connections throughout his journey with fellow theater enthusiasts Mesai and Taye. Working together on various projects and shows, they discovered shared opportunities and a common drive for excellence.


Their collaboration as officers in the International Thespian Society solidified their bond, drawing them closer as friends and artistic allies.

Ricardo's junior year brought hardships as he struggled to balance school and acting. However, witnessing his peers excel fueled his determination to succeed. His senior year became a testament to his growth, landing him the lead role in "Cabaret" and securing his admission to the Rutgers Mason Gross B.F.A. Acting Program.

The surprise came when his friends Kelvin, Mesai, and Taye were also accepted into the program. Their shared experiences were no coincidence; it was built on a foundation of ambition and a collective desire to excel.

The friendships Ricardo shares with these three talented artists are his driving force. Late-night conversations about anime and life fuel their growth as artists and individuals. They are united not by luck but by a shared pursuit of success.


As Ricardo looks ahead to Rutgers, he is armed with confidence, supported by friendships that uplift and challenge him. Their journey, rooted in a passion for theater, promises a bright future filled with growth, success, and an unwavering loyalty of friends who have become brothers.

Isaiah (Mesai) Williams: Rising from the Shadows to the Spotlight

Mesai Williams' acting began with uncertainty, but his determination and talent turned his path into a shining example of growth and achievement.


Starting with the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts Summer Arts Program, Mesai felt like an outsider, but his role as Selsdon in 'Noises Off', complete with a British accent, marked the beginning of his knack for turning challenges into triumphs.

Middle school saw Mesai's love for acting blossom, offering solace during personal struggles. In high school, opportunities weren't handed to him; he had to prove himself anew. But quarantine spurred change.


He honed his craft, elevating his GPA, landing musical roles, and earning a spot at NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Summer High School Program.

Mesai expanded to playwriting, with mentorship from his theater teacher, Mr. Lemon, and camaraderie with friends like Kelvin, Taye, and Ricardo. Their bond, solidified by a group called "The King's Table," pushed each other to excel. Mesai thanks everyone who is a part of this group. 

Junior year brought triumphs, from directing to lead roles, but Mesai aimed higher. He turned one play into a three-act production, won best director at his school's theater awards, secured an Off-Broadway role, and achieved academic excellence.

"I would like to thank Yahweh, my family, mentors, Mr. Lemon, Ms. Rae-Dudley and all my brothers of the Kings Table who have provided me with strength, guidance, and support throughout my journey. I now know my dreams will become accomplishments". -Mesai Williams

His journey culminated with acceptance to Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. After a waitlist, Mesai's dedication, attending school events, and making an impression led to his dream becoming a reality.

Mesai's story is one of relentless growth, from a struggling middle schooler to a talented artist ready to embrace the ambiguities of a new environment. His path serves as an inspiration to anyone striving to turn dreams into accomplishments.

Kelvin R. Langevine, Jr.: From Dual Realities to Unified Artistry

Kelvin R. Langevine, Jr. transcends borders and defies expectations, which has shaped him into a powerful storyteller through art.

Cicely Tyson school

Born in Guyana, Kelvin's childhood was divided between two worlds: the US and Guyana. Amidst confusion, he grappled with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and sought solace in art.

Dance and drawing became his outlets, enabling him to express feelings and transcend the limitations of school.

"I would like to pay homage to my God, family and friends for pushing me alongside this journey. -Kelvin R. Langevine, Jr.

Moving to the US introduced obstacles – accent, behavior, and cultural disparities. Kelvin felt like an outsider, separating his realities. In fourth grade, a pivotal moment on stage ignited his affinity for acting, unleashing self-acceptance and driving him to pursue his dreams.

The Whitney Houston Academy introduced Mr. Lombard and the theater program. There, Kelvin met his acting brother, Taye Forde, who became both a challenge and a support, pushing him to new heights.

Cicely Tyson school

Transitioning to Cicely L. Tyson School Of Performing and Fine Arts, Kelvin continued his career, performing iconic roles and bonding with brothers Ricardo Reid Jr., Taye Forde and Mesai Williams. These experiences nurtured him as an actor and a person, reinforcing his identity and purpose.

Graduation wasn't an end but an expansion. Kelvin enters the Mason Gross School Of The Arts B.F.A. acting program as a first-generation college student. His art, now a vessel of authenticity and vulnerability, seeks to unite hearts and showcase the beauty of truth.

Kelvin's path is a testament to self-discovery, resilience, and the transformative power of art. He steps into the future alongside his brothers, ready to inspire, challenge, and continue weaving his story into the tapestry of human experience.Real EstateA BRIEF LOOK AT RUTGERS MASON GROSS AND CICELY TYSON'S EXCELLENT STAFF: 

The Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, known for its vibrant community of creators, has recognized the potential in Kelvin, Taye, Ricardo, and Mesai. Their admissions stand as a tribute to their commitment to innovation and purposeful contributions to the arts.

Guided by Principal Mr. John English and an exceptional theater department led by Mr. James Lemon, Michele Rae-Dudley, Terri Gorgone, Stephen Lombard, Ronald Carlson, Cedric Weary, and John English, Cicely Tyson School has not just nurtured these artists' skills, but also their characters.

As they embark on this next chapter, they carry the legacy of a school that believes in the power of education, creativity, and unity in the Theater Department.