Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spotlight

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spotlight

Article excerpt

This week's student spotlight shines on Michelle Mayne, a senior at Wentzville High School with a wide range of musical talent.

Michelle, 18, plays the violin, flute, piccolo, and alto and baritone saxophone.

When Michelle was 8, her grandfather asked if she would like to play the violin. "He had an old one that he played as a child," Michelle said. "I said, `OK,' not really knowing what a violin was, and I've been playing ever since."

Michelle has even worked part time as a violin teacher.

When she and her family moved to St. Charles County, her school didn't have a program for string instruments, so Michelle learned to play other instruments.

Michelle and her family moved to Missouri from New Orleans. "My father was in the military, so we moved around a lot," she said. Before New Orleans, she lived in Japan, and before that, in Yuma, Ariz., "formerly the hottest city in the country, but the town council decided that was bad publicity, so they moved the town thermometer into the shade," she said.

Despite her many moves, Michelle has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and recently earned the gold award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive.

Girl Scouts must complete a service project to earn the award. Michelle's pen pal, Yuri, is Cuban. Michelle was upset to learn that Yuri couldn't write back to her because, as a result of an embargo, he had no paper. "He wants to go to college, but he doesn't even have paper to study with, and that really bothered me," Michelle said. So she organized a drive for school supplies for the children in his town, Holguin.

By collecting and selling aluminum cans, she was able to buy $200 in paper, pens, pencils and other supplies. She then wrote letters to the U.S. State Department and to senators in Missouri and Florida to learn how to get the school supplies to Cuba. Sen. Connie Mack, D-Fla., helped Michelle by finding an agency in Florida that specialized in getting things into Cuba. …

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