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Robinson High School student wins prominent FHSAA award

Posted at 5:19 AM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 07:13:07-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Between juggling classes in the IB program at Robinson High School and playing on the golf team, 17-year-old Priya Sambashivan still finds time to do community service.

So much so, it's hard to pinpoint what landed her as this year's recipient of the Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award. The award is presented by the Florida High School Athletic Association.

"It means a lot. I'm just glad that it is sort of like a validation if that makes sense. So that I know that what I'm doing is actually making a contribution that other people can recognize, which means that I'm doing something good," said Sambashivan.

"I've volunteered a lot at the Moffitt Cancer Center, and at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Pete, and at the Tampa General Hospital. But I think that what got me the award was my singalong program," explained Sambashivan.

PriyaFMis a virtual sing-a-long for residents in Senior Living Facilities throughout the state.

"I do them in six states so far, and I just conduct them over zoom like this interview. But I sing jazz and I've been seeing jazz since sixth-grade seventh grade, maybe. But I mean, I've been singing since before I could speak. And I figured if I love jazz music, I'm sure people who grew up listening to jazz music from like the 60s and 50s would appreciate it just as much or even more than I do," Sambashivan said.

The 17-year-old's voice is so smooth and polished that staff at these facilities quickly signed on. Along the way, Sambashivan and the staff made some sweet surprising discoveries. Those oldies helped jog memories for some seniors who were having trouble.

"It's always nice to just hear them like, hear them clap because I know that they actually enjoyed the song. This does like see them sway around or hum, hum like along if they know the song, it just, I don't know, it makes me feel so good that they actually can recognize the song that I'm singing. That means I'm doing it some justice if they can recognize it. It just makes me so happy," Sambashivan said.