Torrey Pines students bring arts to inner city

Michelle Zhang, a junior at Torrey Pines High School, is determined to bring art, music and dance to students in San Diego who don’t have the opportunity to explore their creativity.

Michelle founded a group called Students for the Arts, or StARTS, and recruited 27 of her most talented and artistic schoolmates to volunteer once a week at Logan Elementary in the Logan Heights downtown neighborhood.

“There are so many musical students at Torrey Pines,” Michelle said. “A lot of kids want to put to use what they’ve learned and make something of it.”

Michelle, a pianist and flutist, got the idea for the program when she started giving music lessons to make a little extra money. After hearing about how many San Diego schools do not have any arts programs, she realized she could offer those same lessons for free.

Michelle, along with her StARTS vice president Galit Benoni, knows the importance of music in school. Michelle and Galit picked up their instruments in band classes at Carmel Valley Middle School.

Since the end of September, Michelle’s 27 volunteers have been teaching the Logan second- to sixth-graders piano, guitar, violin, voice, dance and art.

“The kids are great,” Michelle said. “Once you put an instrument in their hands they are really eager to learn.”

She said the children’s giddiness and excitement quickly spreads to the volunteers. Michelle said many of the children do not own their own instruments but that doesn’t keep them from practicing at home — students have told Michelle they play piano with just their fingers at home.

StARTS volunteers hope to hold an art showcase for the elementary students in May or June.

“I hope this stays at Torrey Pines forever,” said Michelle of her program, which she aims to expand to three schools by the end of the school year.

In order to keep the program, Michelle is looking for donations of instruments for the children to practice on, and art supplies as well as monetary funds to help pay for the students’ travel. Anyone interested in helping StARTS can e-mail tpstudents4thearts@

Related posts:

  1. Torrey Pines sends off an ‘amazing group’ of students
  2. Torrey Pines, Vista students latest to have whooping cough
  3. Club’s Youth Arts Academy embraces music education
  4. Philanthropy spotlight: Torrey Pines High School Foundation
  5. Torrey Pines hosts Flight Fest

Short URL:

Posted by ziggycute1 on Nov 26, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6



  • Rita Szczotka of La Jolla applies her business savvy to charitable causes
    Rita Szczotka graduated from Hoover High School in 1976. She was crowned Miss San Diego, Fairest of the Fair in 1977 and a runner up to the Miss California pageant that same year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from National University and San Diego State. After 20-plus years in the financial industry wor […]
  • House of Week; 8720 Cliffridge Aveneu
    A Perfect Blend of Luxury and Harmony 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 3,321 estimated square feet. State-of-the-art gourmet chef’s kitchen. Open and functional floor plan. High-end remodel. Wenge hardwood flooring. Air conditioning, custom paint, & home lighting automation. An expansive grassy & lush backyard. Spa-like bathrooms. Close proximity to beache […]
  • La Jolla Family Dentistry treats those with special needs and expert knowledge
    Special needs dentistry patients are a focus for Jana Osmolinski, DDS, at La Jolla Family Dentistry. Jana, a trained dental anesthesiologist, and her husband and partner, Eric Osmolinski, DMD, have worked as a dental team in town since opening newly renovated Draper offices in August 2013. […]