August 2015 Student Spotlight - Grace Cai, Millard North High School, Omaha

Music education nurtures skills that are critical to future success, including creativity, determination, and motivation. Nebraskans for the Arts’ August Student Spotlight winner, Grace Cai, demonstrates through her personal performance and volunteering efforts that music helps develop the student behind the score.  

Grace, who will be a senior at Millard North High School, has received many accolades for her musical performance, including; All State Orchestra 3 years - (2nd chair Viola in 2014 and 1st chair in 2015),; and superior ratings at district music contests, the Young Orchestra Festival, and UNO’s String Olympics. She also chooses and arranges music for her string quartet, IMAG, to perform.

“Grace is an outstanding leader and has influenced others to become more involved in the musical arts,” said her orchestra teacher, Debbie Martinez. “She has gone above and beyond to pay back to the community, mentoring kids from one of our area elementary schools in a practice club that meets after school, performing at retirement communities and at school events, and serving as Orchestra President for MNHS Orchestra.”

Grace appreciates the challenge and opportunity of playing a musical instrument. “The viola has a dark and unrefined timbre that is a result of its acoustically imperfect design. I may be imperfect, but so is my instrument, yet it still manages to create beauty from imperfection,” said Grace. “This opportunity to create beauty has motivated me to persevere through challenges, an ability I have learned to apply to nonmusical areas of my life as well.”

“The arts enable me to turn my frustration into determination and to grow as both a musician and a human being.”