Maya Gonzalez has been taking piano and vocal lessons from Nick Nolte for 3 years, but has only been playing violin since the beginning of this school year. She decided to begin orchestra in 6th grade despite the fact that she was starting a year behind the rest of the class. After 1 year of playing, she is first chair in her Orchestra and won John Deere Middle School’s Musicianship Award this year. Her orchestra teacher even congratulated her publicly to highlight how hard she worked and how much private lessons can make a difference. According to Nick Nolte, “Her dedication and hard work is what got her there- I can show students the path to get to their goals but they have to take the steps.” In the future she wants to get into IMEA and to someday start playing guitar. She likes writing and gaming, and listens to artists like Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Fun., Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran, and Maroon 5. Oh, and the cat behind her? She originally asked to take her picture with her cats, but they couldn’t make the photo shoot so we improvised. Congrats Maya!