Before Ciara Haskins picked up the violin, she was quiet. Her mother, Yolonda, quickly calls her an introvert. Nothing captivated her, or motivated Ciara to break out of her shell. Nothing, except the violin. One musical instrument transformed her from a shy 6th grader at Eastwood, to a confident young woman entering high school. A ‘gold’ performer at the ISSMA solo and ensemble events, the violin became more than just an extra-curricular activity to one student.
“Over the last three years, I have witnessed a child that would typically stay in the background or on the sideline develop confidence and a desire to shine and take the lead,” Yolonda Haskins said.
Today, Ciara is a sophomore at North Central. Her passion has continued to grow and, with that, her need for instruction has increased as well. As a single mother, Yolonda Haskins has done everything she can to support her daughter’s passion. She’s never let her daughter miss a practice or performance, let alone missed her seat in the audience. Ciara has never been without the proper equipment or opportunity to perform. She is the first member of her family to play an instrument.
“There is nothing I would not do to support her continued development as a musician,” Yolonda adds.
However, with an older sibling in college, paying for the private lessons necessary for her growth has become a challenge.
Enter the Dick Dennis Orchestra Endowment. Each of the past two years, Ciara Haskins has been the recipient of a North Central Orchestra Parents Organization (OPO) scholarship, aimed to help orchestra students at the high school receive funding to offset the costs of private lessons. Ciara is one of nearly 20 students the last two years to receive some sort of aid, which comes from a mix of interest income in the fund and private contributions to the OPO.
Now, worry free, Ciara Haskins can continue honing her talents. She wants to continue her progression as a musician through her junior and senior year and, hopefully, pursue a professional career in music. It’s possible, thanks to a loving mother, dedication and the support of the North Central network.
An accomplished musician, conductor and concertmaster, Dick Dennis left an incredible legacy at North Central High School. Even with many outside opportunities to perform, his passion for teaching led to a 32-year career in Washington Township. He touched the lives of so many students and planted the seeds of passion for music in so many of them. The Dick Dennis Endowment Fund seeks to forever remember that legacy and see that his passion for teaching music carries on. Each year, the OPO receives roughly $1,500 in support from this endowment. The goal is to double it. Please consider a gift today to keep stories like Ciara’s possible.