Written by Charter Oak

April 2022 Student of the Month: Andrea Cotto-Juarbe

Andrea Cotto-Juarbe is a 13-year-old student at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy in Hartford, Connecticut. She has been a Youth Arts student for a year and attends the program alongside her sister one night a week. Andrea has a love for music and gymnastics and is an aspiring author. She believes that music can positively impact the lives of others as it has done for her.

Andrea has played the Viola for four years, but it is not the first instrument she learned to play. She played the violin for two years before switching to the Viola. “I like the viola better because it has a deeper, darker sound,” Andrea explained.

Andrea plays the Viola with her school orchestra and the Hartford All-City Youth Orchestra at Charter Oak Cultural Center.

Andrea first became interested in string instruments in elementary school. “I wanted to try something new,” Andrea explained. All her friends were getting into sports, but Andrea decided to pick up the violin. “I became the classical person in my friend group.”  When I asked Andrea about one thing that music has taught her, she explained that she learned that you “definitely have to practice a lot.” “If you want to get better or be the best, you have to practice.” Andrea also expressed the positive impact that music has had in her life. “When I was going through a depressive state, music helped me a lot,” Andrea explained. “I want to continue pursuing music because it can help people out of a depressive state like I was in.”

When Andrea is not participating in some form of musical performance, she is writing. Romance novels inspire Andrea, her favorite being The Inheritance Games. She is currently writing a book titled The Language of a Criminal. While Andrea keeps most of her writing in her room, she hopes to share it with others someday and is looking forward to taking writing classes at the Youth Arts Institute over the summer. 

In addition to playing the viola and writing, Andrea is a gymnast. “I was in gymnastics for seven years until COVID started.” The Olympian Gabby Douglas inspired Andrea’s love for gymnastics. When I asked what Andrea was looking forward to in high school, she explained that she hopes to take honors classes to get into a good college. One school that is on her radar is UCLA. “I watched the gymnastics movie Full Out,” Andrea explained. “UCLA has a really popular coach, and they have a gymnastic gym.” 

If music could take Andrea anywhere, she hopes to go to Paris, France. The romance capital of the world. After she builds a solo career in music and becomes a world-renown novelist, Andrea wants to be a pediatrician. “In my family, there are a lot of kids,” Andrea explained. “They always need guidance, and I want to help them.”

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