CHICAGO (WLS) -- Trevor Nicholas, a teacher at Senn High School in Edgewater, is one of 10 finalists from across the nation for the Music Educator Grammy Award.
Nicholas teaches kids how music ca help them heal from the pressures and suffering in their young lives. He believes music can galvanize the human spirit. His students are being transformed.
Nicholas is from the Minnesota Northwoods, far from the harsh urban struggles that challenge so many of his students.
"It's surreal, it's beyond my wildest dreams at this point, and the whole purpose of this is for all of the students to be uplifted, for their artistry and beauty to be amplified," he said.
Nicholas used a wheelchair as a child, and was able to overcome his health condition. He said music redeemed him, body and soul.
"I just had a lot of doors that were shut and I had one that was very open, and at the start it was very lonely," he said. "I would connect with music, I would ebb and flow with the music, and afterwards I would feel a sense of peace, a sense of wholeness," Nicholas said.
Students with emotional wounds have the comfort and connection of music they create.
"Music is more than just listening, it's about feeling and connecting, he really made sure we did all that," said Sydney Mathis, senior at Senn High School.
"I was just pushed to my creative limits and emotional limits in just the most positive, compassionate way," said Colin Cosgrove, who was taught by Nicholas as a student and is now a music teacher himself.
"I think just having someone in my life like him has definitely made my passion for music grow," said Senn senior Wil DIxon.
"I want them to feel like they can do anything because I never dreamed I would be nominated for a Grammy once or twice," Nicholas said.
This is actually the second time Nicholas has earned a Music Educator Grammy nomination. The winner will be announced next week, and his students are so ready for their teacher to get that trophy.