ISS student donates money to Ruben Studdard Foundation

When Indian Springs School sophomore Ji Min Yang earned high marks at the Lois Pickard Music Scholarship Competition earlier this year, the young violinist decided to use her $2,500 cash prize to advance the musical aspirations of others.

Yang, of Seoul, South Korea, donated her prize to The Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts during an Awards Day ceremony at ISS on May 21.

“My mom gave me the idea of donating the money, and I thought it was a good idea to give it back to the community because the whole school and the community helped me a lot to be in the competition,” Yang said. “I asked my music teacher to find some foundations to donate the money to, and my parents and I decided to donate to The Ruben Studdard Foundation because it has a good track record.”

The foundation, named for the Birmingham native and season two winner of “American Idol,” supports music education programs of schools within the Greater Birmingham area, affords students opportunities to further develop their musical talents and promotes advocacy initiatives to support music education.

The foundation also provides scholarships to music education students, said Emily Studdard, the foundation’s interim executive director and Ruben’s mother.

“To get this donation meant a lot to the foundation because we serve inner city kids with musical talent,” Emily said. “With this we can have more teachers, give out more scholarships and bring in people to talk to children about careers in the music industry.”

Emily was on hand last week to accept the donation, and she thanked Yang for helping others realize their dreams.

“It’s not everyday a teenager will give up her prize money, so it’s great she did that to give back to the community,” she said.

Yang’s music teacher, Dr. Alina Voicu, also commended Yang’s thoughtful act.

“We are very proud of Ji Min – not only for her musical accomplishment, but also for her act of generosity,” Voicu said. “It is certainly a testament to her commitment to music and her desire to help make music possible for more young people like her.”