Collegiate Senior Uses Endowment Award to Create, Fund Youth Music Festival

During a special presentation last week, five Collegiate students shared how student endowments made possible by the generosity of Collegiate School families enabled them to travel and explore their individual areas of interest. One of those students, senior Azzuri Fleming, received the Mary Parker Moncure Vaden Endowment Award and used her funding to create a community-wide music festival for youth called Beats, Rhymes and Life.

“I did this because I feel like there is a lack of resources and outlets in Richmond for youth who want to pursue music seriously,” Azzuri said.
Azzuri located a venue willing to rent her space, created fliers to spread the word and secured media support, including an interview with NBC12. This past Saturday, she hosted the event at Six Points Innovation Center in east Richmond, before an overflow crowd filled with Collegiate students and faculty and other young people from throughout metro Richmond who wanted to perform or enjoy the entertainment. Local media also covered the event.

“I believe Azzuri’s event turned out even better than she imagined,” said Erica Coffey, Collegiate’s Director of Global Engagement and Inclusion, who served as one of Azzuri’s mentors. “It was not an easy path and she learned so much in the process - how to persevere and what it really takes to turn a vision into reality.”

Trina Clemans, Collegiate's Director of Economic and Entrepreneurship Education, concurred: "To make this showcase a reality, (Azzuri, who is often called Zuri) had to connect many disparate resources not usually requested by teens - performance spaces, sound equipment, contracts and peer performers - over months with replies to her requests often coming in at a snails pace. Zuri's persistence, patience and determination enabled her to pull together a strong showcase and build stronger communication skills and a larger network of supporters along the way."

Azzuri said the event exceeded her expectations and she was thrilled with how the 70-plus individuals in attendance responded.

“When they walked in, I could see their hesitancy, but by the end they were either fully engaged in what was going on or asking me when the next showcase would be,” she said. “One attendee told me that she felt like the event was history in the making, and I couldn't have agreed with her more!”
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