Standout Student: Wayzata’s Tasha Piyabongkarn
In this most unusual of school years, one thing remains constant: students in Wayzata High School’s volunteer program, Club Y.E.S., are still finding ways to give back.
“We sent letters to military troops overseas,” said Brenda Badger, Club Y.E.S. program manager, referring to one of the many student initiatives happening this year.
In a normal year, the students would do things like play music in senior living homes, or help out at the local food shelf. However, due to COVID-19, a lot of those in-person activities have been put on hold.
“When the pandemic first started, naturally it just shut us down,” Badger said. “We couldn’t send students out in the community to volunteer. So we really had to think out of the box.”
With the inability to volunteer in person, they decided to utilize the tools of this digital age.
Freshman Tasha Piyabongkarn is one of a number of Wayzata students who have started recording videos of themselves displaying their musical talents.
The high school then sends these videos to local senior living homes for residents to enjoy.
“So I started making these videos, and even though I don’t see the seniors’ reactions and that kind of stuff, I know that I’m still making them happy, and that makes me happy,” Piyabongkarn said.
Staff members at Trillium Woods senior living home in Plymouth say the videos have had quite the effect.
‘It brings them to tears’
“Some of [the seniors] are just elated,” said Robin Holien, Trillium Woods recreational activities supervisor. “Some of them, it brings them to tears. Some of them, it’s really nice because it brings them back to their piano days.”
Piyabongkarn is a classically trained pianist who’s been playing since the age of 5. This initiative is just one way that she can share her passion and spread joy with those who are missing those personal connections.
“I think music is really powerful,” Piyabongkarn said. “I think it can bring back memories sometimes and emotions.”
It remains to be seen when students will be able to physically return to senior living homes, but Piyabongkarn is certainly making the most of this opportunity.
“She just really wants to bring others joy with her music,” Badger said.