Key to Change Students Receive Community Funded Scholarships

Left picture: Councilmember Dave Upthegrove presents Jolene Nguyen with a scholarship.

Right picture: Members of the Ballard Rotary Club present Malak Ali with a scholarship. 

Key to Change Students Receive Community Funded Scholarships

This past Saturday, August 14, 2021 twenty-two students performed at Key to Change’s Summer Finale Student Concert. This concert was held at the IKEA Performing Arts Center in Renton and featured the music of composer in residence, Caleb Vaughn-Jones. At the conclusion of the concert, three students were awarded scholarships towards their music education or academic studies. Two students received scholarships valued at $2,500 each to continue to take string lessons for the upcoming academic year and one student was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to continue his academic studies at the University of Washington this fall.

Jolene Nguyen is a senior at Hazen High School and has studied the viola in the string studio for the past two years. She has performed a solo at Benaroya Hall and in a masterclass for Beth Chu, the principal violist of the St. Louis Symphony. She was awarded a scholarship on behalf of Council member Dave Upthegrove. Council member Upthegrove has been a champion for providing equity among various small nonprofit organizations in South King County since he took office. “Music is a magical way for youth to express themselves,” said Upthegrove. “I am excited to be able to help Jolene continue her amazing journey with Key to Change and look forward to hearing her perform in the future – whether it be locally, nationally or internationally!”

Malak Ali, a 10th grader at Kent-Meridian High School has studied the violin in the string studio for the past year. She participated in the Solo String Festival at Benaroya Hall and in the string program in the Highline School District. Ali’s full scholarship is presented by the Rotary Club of Ballard. After experiencing a moving presentation by the Executive Director & Founder of Key to Change, Dr. Quinton Morris, the Rotarians were moved to action and committed shortly after to raising the funds to personally support one of our students in their musical journey. “We congratulate Key to Change on the opportunities they are providing to these racially and economically diverse students with boatloads of talent but otherwise few opportunities to realize their dreams,” said Terry Collings, Program Chair. 

“I’m so proud that we are able to continue to provide support and a pipeline for our students.This demonstrates our commitment in nurturing their development as amazing young people and musicians”, said Dr. Quinton Morris. Richie Doan, a recent graduate of the string studio has been a student since the organization’s inception. Richie has participated in a number of activities throughout his tenure at Key to Change including performing in outreach activities, guest artists master classes and yearly concert performances. This fall, Richie will study at the University of Washington majoring in Computer Science. He is the second graduate of the string studio.

Enrollment for new and continuing students is open until September 6th. Interested applicants may apply on our website at

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Students perform for Vice President Kamala Harris

Eden Pawlos wins concerto competition and will make debut with University of Washington Campus Philharmonia Eden Pawlos and Laila West, two violinists enrolled in our ...
Read More

Student Violinist Wins Award & Performance

Eden Pawlos wins concerto competition and will make debut with University of Washington Campus Philharmonia Yesterday, Eden Pawlos, a student violinist at Key to Change ...
Read More

Student performs with Northwest Symphony Orchestra

Eden returns as a soloist with the NW Symphony Orchestra. Renton, WA – Eden Pawlos, a current violin student at Key to Change will return ...
Read More