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Isabelle Olmeda

1805

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hello everyone! My name is Isabelle Olmeda, and I am currently a full-time, second-year undergraduate student studying Music Education at the University of Miami. I have devoted a decade of my life to learning cello and mentoring aspiring young cellists that strive to become musicians in the future. I see music being my opportunity to live a joyous life sharing my passions with those around me. I graduated in 2021 from Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Florida. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 5.023 GPA, serving as President of Heartstrings (a community musical service group) and members of NHS, SNHS, Tri-M Music Honors Society, and Mu Alpha Theta, the Math Honors Society. I spent most of my time in high school actively tutoring peers in Math and Science and teaching private cello lessons to kids ages 6-15. I was always involved in community orchestras, and I enjoyed every hour of rehearsal to get to where I am right now. Music has been the foundation of my dedication, discipline, and communication, and I find my greatest passion in sharing/teaching music to those around me. My interests in music and teaching have led me to pursue my bachelor's degree in Music Education at the University of Miami.

Education

University of Miami

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Education, Other
    • Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas
    • Music
  • Minors:
    • Education, General

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Music Education

    • Dream career goals:

      Orchestra Director

    • Music Teacher

      Miami Music Works
      2021 – Present3 years

    Sports

    Volleyball

    Club
    2018 – 20191 year

    Arts

    • Coral Reef Senior High's Symphony Orchestra

      Music
      2017 – 2021
    • University of Miami's Frost School of Music

      Music
      2021 – Present
    • Cello Sanctuary

      Music
      2017 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Heartstrings Coral Reef Senior High — President
      2019 – 2021

    Future Interests

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Andrea Tyrah DeBruhl Memorial Scholarship for Future Teachers
    Winner
    Playgrounds are the hearths of children's most fond memories and foundational imagination and coordination skills. Public play areas encourage children to collaborate with new friends in their communities, critically think through situations, and, most importantly, learn how to take turns and share with others. Playgrounds are essential for children's motor skills and entertainment, so teachers and guardians must ensure faulty equipment does not spoil the fun. As caretakers, we urge children to take in every experience of the massive world at their feet, and foster happy memories for our children to cherish. Playgrounds should not be children's recollection of horrible scratches and bruises because of horseplay or unsafe equipment. As a future teacher or parent, I would make it essential for adults to actively review their playground's surroundings before children even enter the play area. Adults should begin their examination by checking for hazards like sharp edges, loose bolts, or trip hazards, such as rocks, tree stumps, or suspended ropes. The park's surface should provide soft cushioning for falls; rubber or sand would be ideal for playground floors, and adults should avoid gravel or asphalt surfaces. Elevated surfaces, including platforms and ramps, should have guardrails to protect from potential slips. Teachers should also ensure that the playground is inclusive of wheelchair accessibility. If ramps are not present and the class includes a handicapped classmate, it is best to travel to another playground that is inclusive for absolutely everyone. This examination could take just 10-15 minutes but could prevent many accidents that could spoil joyful playground memories. After checking for possible hazards, adults should maintain an open conversation with their children about playground safety. Children need to develop their own understanding of the difference between roughhousing and appropriate behavior. Yes, this may bore kids eager to start playing, but having this conversation ensures safety for the child and other children they may come across. The conversation could begin by demonstrating the proper use of play equipment: no standing on swings, sliding feet-first down slides, looking out for other children when jumping or sliding, and no climbing rails or platforms not meant for climbing. Even with these many safety precautions, children will continue to fall down and hurt themselves. Adults should communicate "how" to fall: knees being slightly bent, avoiding catching yourself with your hands, and relaxing when falling, rather than hardening up. Learning how to fall improves children's motor skills and guards against that fear of failing when growing up. Parents and teachers should also maintain this understanding that it is okay to fall, even though it always hurts to watch. Kids always get back up after falling and do not mind it unless adults do. Maintaining this conversation about playground safety with children is vital to preventing many potential accidents. Lastly, adults should maintain full supervision of their kids at all times. Playgrounds should not have too many barriers or blindspots that obstruct a guardian's point of view. Constant surveillance is crucial to preserving playground safety for our children. Adults should beware of any distractions, especially phones, that would discourage maximum attention to children. With consistent attention to kids, adults will be better suited to dissuade misbehavior and respond quickly to unfortunate accidents. Too many children are injured on playgrounds yearly, and adults must take the precautionary steps to avoid further tragedies. Community playgrounds are vital to children's early development, and adults must ensure that children stay safe in play areas.
    Bold Talent Scholarship
    My most cherished family gatherings were the ones that called for the Puerto Rican-style music circle. My relatives would each pull out their güiros, maracas, and bongos and begin singing to the tunes of Puerto-Rican radio stations. While my grandparents, aunts, and uncles were not the best singers, I feel they sparked my love and passion for music. Music has been my saving grace throughout my life. I began playing cello at ten years old, and from the moment I played my first "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" excerpt for my mother, I knew I must dedicate my life to the cello. While I did not go the Hispanic-genre route, my family always supported my musical endeavors in classical cello, and I will never forget my Hispanic music upbringing. Practicing countless hours and attending endless rehearsals feels worth it, and I would not retract any hour spent perfecting my craft. Whether playing in a Symphony Orchestra or teaching in schools across the United States, I could never see myself not engaged in music. I always thought "the cellist" was the one character trait people remembered about me. I was never the MVP in my middle-school basketball team (nor volleyball, for that matter), and there was always a student smarter or more athletic than me. But cello-that was the one talent I had that no one could take away from me. Deciding to cancel on friends to attend cello commitments were some of the best decisions I made in my past. I have a hunger to discover musical challenges and give back everything I learn along the way. Finding musical passages that seem impossible fuels my excitement in cello, and I strive to keep working on my craft to inspire those who have supported, believed, and looked up to me.
    Bold Perseverance Scholarship
    My mom has been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer three times in the past nine years. The disease refuses to leave indefinitely and it still seems impossible to talk about without feeling sorrow. In eighth grade (the worst she ever looked), I felt like I was mute, and I couldn’t bring about any emotion besides a fake smile. Feeling like the whole world was crashing down in eighth grade year, I picked up my cello and played a Bach Suite for my mother. We had all been blank in the eyes of everyone, but for the first time, I brought about an authentic smile from the person who needed it the most. I had been playing cello for about one and a half years by then; but for the first time, it felt like I was no longer just playing for myself or some judges. I had come to realize that the cello was not just an opportunity for the future, but was an object that had the same power a therapist would have. It was the cello that made me feel, made me motivated, made me cry. I know what it’s like to be expressionless and numb, but I also know the feeling of giving a gift so valuable that one is not enough. That glow in her eyes, that genuine smile, that is the reason why I am here today and refuse to go back to being blank. That inanimate box of wood with strands of metal fastened onto a curvy bridge gave life to me and my family, and I will never give that up.
    Bold Music Scholarship
    Music has been my saving grace throughout my life. One song that inspires me is the Prelude from the 1st Bach Cello Suite, played by the notable Yo-yo Ma. I have been playing cello for about nine years now, and I am determined to dedicate my life to music. Whether playing in a Symphony Orchestra or teaching in schools across the United States, I could never see myself not engaged in music. My mother was the person who persisted in me picking cello rather than viola or violin in the sixth grade. She loved the sound produced by the beautiful instrument and the different ranges the cello could have. I enjoyed playing the cello from the beginning of my academic years, but it was not until my family found out my mother had Stage 3 Breast Cancer that I found my purpose in playing music. The news had struck my family very hard, and I felt lost. I was only 11 years old; I had no idea how to approach the situation. Do I smile for her? Can I cry? The only thing I thought I could do was play my cello. I had been practicing for hours on end to distract myself from the distress in my household. I played the Bach Prelude for my mother and finally saw her smile again. I no longer felt blank or lost. I felt seen. I was not performing a piece for my mother; I was giving her the love and strength she needed to overcome the disease. Listening to Yo-yo Ma's rendition of the Prelude makes me teary-eyed every time. The piece goes through a joyous opening section, a lost and wandering development section, and an overcoming resolution at the end of the piece that truly represents my life in music.
    Stefanie Ann Cronin Make a Difference Scholarship
    It takes much dedication and persistence to become a musician, and becoming a music teacher demands both those skills and the added spice of unrelenting patience. I began playing at ten years old, and from the moment I played my first "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" excerpt for my mother, I knew I must share music with everyone around me. Sharing my passion for music through education is the spark that ignited my life and career dreams. I had never imagined music would be the golden ticket to my future education and career goals. I always found myself constantly involved in the music world and never questioned pursuing another subject field. Music was always the answer to that question: "What do you want to do with your life?" My initial dream was to become a professional cellist in an established symphony orchestra traveling across the world through the many concert halls. Throughout my high school years, I came across teachers and individuals who did not want the best for me and beat me down to the point of almost quitting definitely. I had gotten into a very dark place during sophomore year, simultaneously dealing with my mother's frightening breast cancer diagnosis. I felt I was losing grasp of my flame-my music. Life was dull, and I started second-guessing my life dream because I was drilled to hate the way I played the cello and compare myself to those who were "just better," as one of my teachers liked to say. I stopped playing for my mother and those around me because I felt I did not deserve the audience they gave to me. My dream had begun to fade, and the fire started to burn out. That "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" flame did not kindle again until I taught my first few cello lessons to kids across Miami. The kids challenged me. They were not beating me down or insulting me; they were admiring me. I became a mentor to them, and they saw me as their opportunity to achieve their own musical dreams. Those kids saved my music, and I want nothing more in my future years than to keep giving back to those who gave me everything. Those kids gave me my reason to push through adversity and revitalize that spark I had throughout my academic years. I used my experience with rotten teachers to benefit my teaching styles, and a sense of gratitude is dedicated to those teachers that allowed me to emerge victorious during times of unyielding hardship. I have a hunger to keep discovering those musical challenges and give back everything I learn along the way. Teaching is one of the most rewarding works out there, and I am willing to put in maximum effort to ignite the sparks for the many young generations to come.