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  • Chris Quinn

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Passionate Performer

Student Inspires Through Music

Mozart’s Canon in D is easily recognized in its first few notes. The classical piece scores commercials and starts weddings. But how many 17-year-olds would consider it their favorite? Music drives the passion and purpose of Ronald Reagan High School senior Michelle Cervantez, who participates in Varsity Orchestra and serves as president of the school’s Texas Music Educators’ Club. Michelle was inspired by music the first moment she heard a worship team practice at church. She chose the violin as her primary instrument when she started orchestra at Lopez in the sixth grade because its sound most closely mimics the human voice. (Michelle also plays guitar, piano and sings).

As president of the educators' club, Michelle arranges for speakers to enlighten students about teaching careers in music. “I want to help young people fall in love with music like I did,” she said. Michelle plays second violin in Reagan’s Chamber Orchestra. She looks forward to playing a few pieces with the San Antonio Symphony and attending national competition, held this year in New York City in March. The trip’s expensive, so she created a website called Michelle violinist to raise funds by playing private engagements like weddings, bridal showers, romantic dinners and quinceañeras. “It’s really taking off,” she said. “I’m able to put to work the thing that I love.” Others know Michelle through Cornerstone Church, where she plays in the main sanctuary on Sunday nights, for the women’s ministry worship team and sings for the youth ministry. “I had a really good mentor who helped me grow into the different musical styles of worship,” she said. Michelle and her family currently travel monthly to the border of Mexico, where they minister at the Nueva Creation church. She’s been able to share music at the worship night and encourage bullying and suicide prevention. The close-knit family considers it important to give back, as they are “living the American dream.” Michelle’s father, once a migrant worker, serves with the Customs and Border Protection Office. He and Michelle’s Mexico-born mother met at Uvalde Southwest Texas junior college. Reagan teachers Mr. Sharplin and Mr. Elizondo have played a big part of her musical journey, “mentoring me and pushing me to be the best player I could be,” she said. Prior to moving to Stone Oak, Michelle’s father’s job took the family to the Bahamas, where she attended the private international school Lyfor Cay, best known for teaching the children of pop star Shakira. Michelle sang the National Anthem at the Memorial Day Remembrance for the Customs and Border Protections Embassy in the Bahamas while only in the fourth and fifth grades! This year, she repeated the anthem on violin for an event that the embassy live-streamed nationwide.

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