Corona Del Mar High School senior Sophia Rabin developed a love for music in kindergarten when she and four other girls started their own band and began performing at popular venues such as the House of Blues. As she continued to perform, her passion for music grew stronger, ultimately earning her the prestigious distinction of being named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a way to honor the nation’s top graduating seniors. The program has since expanded to include students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. Of the 3.7 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, only 161 students nationwide have been honored with this distinction.
“As a singer/songwriter, I am very comfortable being on stage alone with my guitar,” Rabin said. “Right now, I’m in the spotlight again – but I can’t believe it’s for such an incredible and prestigious distinction. It’s really more than I can put into words.”
To be eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, students must apply to YoungArts, an organization that supports and cultivates young artists, and be named a finalist at the National YoungArts competition.
Rabin won the YoungArts national competition in the singer/songwriter category for “Shadows of Airplanes,” an original composition written for her mom, and received $10,000 along with the U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts nomination.
“As parents, we do what we can to expose our children to as many opportunities as we can,” said Allison Rabin, Sophia’s mother. “Sophia is a sponge – she is constantly wanting to learn, grow and develop, and she dives headfirst into everything that she does. It’s such a gift to be able to see her shine and have this world open up for her – I can only imagine what she’s going to accomplish in her life.”
Rabin has a 4.3 GPA and has taken on many leadership roles at her school. She is currently the commissioner of the Associated Student Body (ASB), where she founded the Visual and Performing Arts Committee – which is responsible for managing on-campus events such as open mic nights and helps integrate performing arts into school rallies.
“Sophia is one of the most dedicated, passionate, and creative students that I have ever come across during my tenure as an educator,” ASB Director Michael Dobyns said. “She constantly demonstrates leadership inside and outside of the classroom and really gives back to her community.”
Rabin was named a University of Southern California Trustee Scholar and will attend the university in the fall on a full-ride scholarship. She plans to double major in music industry and popular music performance, with a singer/songwriter emphasis. Rabin hopes to become a professional performing artist and songwriter, while also creating music for television and film.
“I hope I’ve left a legacy of some kind at CdM; this school provides so many opportunities for students and I took advantage of all of them,” Rabin said. “I can’t wait to surround myself with like-minded people at USC that will challenge me to continue growing and getting better in my music. My dream is to win a Grammy one day!”