Young Musician Silvio Plata Recognized as VSAFL Student of the Month

 

 

By: María Alejandra Pulgar

@marialepulgar – NAHJ #37172

Para leer en Español

Silvio Alejandro Plata is a very special teenage musician and as such has been recognized with the VSA Student of the Month award by VSA Florida (VSAFL), the not-for-profit corporation that organizes art education programs and promotes accomplishments of young artists with disabilities in the State of Florida. VSAFL is an affiliate of VSA and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.

Silvio just turned fourteen years old last April. He was born in Nicaragua and his family moved to Miami when he was a baby to pursue treatment for his bilateral retinoblastoma. Although he eventually became blind as a baby, after he lost both his eyes to the cancer, he is a survivor. Silvio surpassed all obstacles and with the help and support of his parents, family and friends and several organizations has been able to grow and thrive as an excellent student and brilliant musician.

The importance of early intervention and music

He is a handsome and sweet boy, and when he sits at the piano, the drums or grabs a ukulele he is transfixed and performs with such an energy and soul that moves the audience to tears.  “He has always been a very musical child” says his mom Ileana. “When he was about one year old we bought him small toy piano and he started making different sounds with it. However, we realized that he was not hitting or going crazy, the sound had a good rhythm and there was also a little melody.”

With that realization, Ileana took to the task of finding options to start fostering Silvio’s interest in music as well as preparing him for attending school, giving him the tools to operate in a regular school environment. She found ARC of South Florida, a center that provides early intervention programs for children with disabilities.

Irma Alvarez, ARC Project Thrive Director explained the importance of these programs on a recent interview for a PSA developed by United Way where Silvio is showcased. ” Here we receive children with all different kinds of special needs. We service children ages one to three years old and they come into our program which is an early intervention preschool. At the same time they are receiving speech, occupational and physical therapy. A child, if given early intervention, the possibilities to develop are so much higher. Our goal is to make them independent. This is what happens when you give children that early start.”

And what a head start he got, that he adjusted perfectly to regular school classes and attends public school in advanced classes, along with the formal music studies he takes at Doral Conservatory School of the Arts since age 5, sponsored with a scholarship by Italo’s Way Foundation.

Silvio is a great reader using Braille system; he has an incredible memory and is a gifted speaker. His favorite subject is history because he always had “a passion for learning about other cultures”, however his “favorite part of the day is when I go to band. I love singing and it is a good way to express my feelings and to communicate with other people through music”. According to his mom, he has several times expressed his desire to eventually become a lawyer when he grows up.

But is his musical talent what makes him beyond extraordinary. Silvio is in the Advanced Band at his middle school, where he plays xylophone and plays drums at church. He has a beautiful voice that has been nurtured and cultivated by his teachers, especially Mr. Carlos Puchi, the award winning musician who has been Silvio’s voice teacher at the conservatory for many years.  He also receives piano classes with Ms. Carmen Rosa Oliva, who has made of Silvio an accomplished pianist as well.

“Silvio does homework listening to music. Unlike other people it relaxes him and helps him concentrate on his tasks” explains his mother Ileana, “He has always shown a huge and immense passion for music, Silvio is an honor roll student and has received several academic recognitions as well as for his musical talents. Arts and Education combined have made a difference for him”.

The VSAFL Student of the Month Award

Silvio, his family and teachers were rejoiced when they were notified of the recognition by VSAFL. Headquartered in the College of Education at University of South Florida, VSAFL promotes art education programs and performances for students with disabilities.

On May 2ndSilvio received his trophy and a gift certificate from VSAFL, along with a proclamation from School Board Member Susie Castillo, during a private recital for friends and family, where his music teachers Mr. Puchi and Ms. Oliva were recognized as well for their long time dedication to music education.

Steven Klotz, regional director for VSAFL who delivered Silvio his award, explained that “the VSAFL Student of the Month Program is designed to increase public awareness and recognize the impact arts make on students with disabilities statewide. Students who participate in the arts develop creativity, have increased self-confidence, understand teamwork, have increased language and math skills and are generally more engaged”. Klotz was greatly impressed with Silvio’s talents and encouraged him to always continue playing music.

Silvio’s attitude towards life is one of the most important ingredients for his success in academics and music. “My passion for music, it is something I think I was born with. In life I always like to stay very positive. I see myself as a normal person; there is nothing different; I just don’t have my eyesight. Sometimes people ask if it something that bothers me and I answer it is not, because I always look at the positive stuff”.

 

———– En Español ——-

Joven Músico Silvio Plata Recibe Premio VSAFL

 

Por: María Alejandra Pulgar

@marialepulgar – NAHJ #37172

Silvio Alejandro Plata es un músico adolescente muy especial, y como tal ha sido reconocido como el Estudiante del Mes de VSA Florida (VSAFL), la corporación sin fines de lucro que organiza y promueve programas de educación en las artes para jóvenes con discapacidades en Florida. VSAFL está afiliada a VSA y el Centro Kennedy para las Artes Escénicas de Washington DC.

Silvio acaba de cumplir catorce años en Abril. Nacido en Nicaragua, llegó a Miami con su familia siendo un bebé, para recibir tratamiento por retinoblastoma bilateral. Aun cuando eventualmente quedó ciego antes de su primer cumpleaños cuando perdió sus ojos por el cáncer, Silvio es un sobreviviente. Ha superado todos los obstáculos con la ayuda y apoyo de sus padres, familiares, amigos y varias organizaciones que le han dado los recursos y herramientas para crecer y desarrollarse como un estudiante excelente y un brillante músico.

La importancia de la intervención temprana y la música

Es un muchacho muy apuesto y dulce, y cuando se sienta al piano o toma las baquetas o el ukulele se transfigure, y actúa con tanta energía que conmueve a la audiencia.” Siempre ha sido un niño muy musical” explica su madre Ileana. “Cuando tenía cerca de un año de edad le compramos un piano de juguete y comenzó a hacer diferentes sonidos.  Nos dimos cuenta que no lo golpeaba sino que el sonido que producía tenía ritmo y hasta cierta melodía.”

Iliana se dio a la tarea de encontrar opciones para fomentar el interés musical de Silvio, al igual que prepararlo con herramientas para operar en un ambiente escolar regular. Encontró ARC of South Florida, un centro que provee programas de intervención temprana para niños con dificultades.

Irma Alvarez, Directora de Project Thrive en ARC, explicó la importancia de la atención temprana en una reciente entrevista para un anuncio de United Way donde se presenta a Silvio. ”Aquí recibimos niños con muchas necesidades especiales diferentes. Damos servicio a niños entre uno y tres años, en un programa de pre-escolar de intervención temprana. Al mismo tiempo reciben terapia de lenguaje, ocupacional y física. Un niño que recibe intervención temprana tiene muchas más posibilidades de desarrollarse. Nuestro objetivo es que sean independientes. Eso es lo que sucede cuando les damos el impulso inicial.”

Ese impulse inicial hizo que Silvio se ajustara perfectamente a programas regulares en las escuelas públicas de Miami-Dade, donde cursa clases avanzadas, junto con sus estudios musicales formales desde los cinco años en el Doral Conservatory, gracias al generoso aporte de la fundación Italo’s Way.

Silvio lee utilizando el Sistema Braille y disfruta mucho la lectura; tiene una memoria increíble y es un brillante orador. Su materia favorita es la historia, porque siempre ha tenido” pasión para aprender sobre otras culturas”, sin embargo la parte favorita de su día es “cuando voy a la banda. Me encanta cantar, es una buena manera de expresar lo que siento y comunicarme con las personas a través de la musica.” Según su madre Ileana, en algunas ocasiones ha manifestado su deseo de convertirse en abogado cuando crezca.

Pero es su talento musical lo que le hace extraordinario. Silvio está en la Banda Avanzada en su escuela intermedia, donde toca el xilófono. En su iglesia toca la batería.  Es un cantante con una dulce voz que ha sido cultivada por sus maestros, especialmente Carlos Puchi, reconocido músico que ha sido maestro de Silvio por muchos años. También recibe clases de piano con Carmen Rosa Oliva, quien lo ha guiado para ser un excelente pianista.

“Silvio hace sus tareas escuchando música, eso lo relaja y ayuda a concentrarse” explica su madre Ileana. “Siempre ha demostrado una inmensa pasión por la música. Además es un estudiante de honores y ha recibido reconocimientos por sus logros y académicos asi como por los musicales. El arte y la educación combinados han hecho una diferencia.”

Premio VSAFL al estudiante del mes

Silvio, sus familiares y maestros recibieron con alegría la notificación del premio VSAFL. Esta organización, ubicada en la Escuela de Educación de la Universidad del Sur de Florida, promueve programas de educación en las artes para estudiantes con discapacidades.

El 2 de mayo Silvio recibió su trofeo de VSAFL, junto con una proclama por parte de la Sra. Susie Castillo de la Junta Escolar. Esto tuvo lugar en un recital privado para amigos y familiares, donde también fueron reconocidos por su trayectoria sus profesores Carlos Puchi y Carmen Rosa Oliva.

Steven Klotz, director regional de VSAFL entregó el reconocimiento y explicó que el programa está diseñado para “incrementar el conocimiento público sobre el impacto positivo de las artes para los estudiantes con discapacidades, pues quienes participan en expresiones artísticas desarrollan la creatividad, tienen mayor autoconfianza, trabajan mejor en equipo tienen mejores habilidades verbales y matemáticas y en general participan mucho más.” Klotz estuvo gratamente impresionado con los talentos de Silvio y lo alentó a continuar siempre con la música.

La actitud de Silvio ante la vida es una de las claves principales para su éxito académico y musical. “Mi pasión por la música es algo con lo que nací. Siempre trato de mantenerme positivo. Yo soy una persona normal, no tengo nada diferente, solamente no puedo ver. A veces las personas me preguntan si eso me molesta y les digo que no, porque siempre procuro encontrar los aspectos positivos en todas las cosas.”

 

 

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