Alyeene Zebrowski’s days are a whirlwind of activity. Besides playing and teaching violin, the Scotia-Glenville High School senior is involved in numerous honor societies, volunteering at an animal shelter and community outreach efforts and mentoring other students. How does she do it?
“I’ve always been a really busy person,” Zebrowski said with a laugh. “I’m mostly booked every day but I like to organize and plan my week and still get eight hours of sleep. I do my homework after school.”
She’s run her life on this type of schedule ever since kindergarten when she started modern dance classes and took up violin.
“I really wanted to play violin and my parents let me choose,” she said.
By the time she was in fourth grade she was good enough to get into the New England String Orchestra, which eventually merged with the Empire State Youth Orchestra — an organization she continues to play in. Through the ESYO, she is also part of its Young Leaders program, which pairs her with a mentor who is a professional musician. Violinist Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz, the founder and artistic director of Musicians of Ma’alwyck, is Zebrowski’s mentor, and calls her an “unusually motivated student and very compassionate.”
Besides practicing violin during her free periods at school, Zebrowski is also secretary for the Tri-M group at her school, which is the musicians’ honor society. About 15 to 20 students belong to the group and meet on average once a month to plan how to volunteer at music-based events, she said.
These include concerts at elementary school where they set up, tune the instruments and usher. Sometimes they hold breakfasts or play for retirement homes.
Another school-based organization is the National English Honor Society, for which she is vice-president. That’s a literacy based group that is involved with anything that has to do with the English language, such as a school newspaper. She also does some tutoring for this group. And she is president of the school’s arm of the National Honor Society.
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The school also has a volunteer program called GIVE, for which Zebrowski helps on weekends to fill backpacks with food for those in need. And when she can, she volunteers at the Mohawk-Hudson Humane Animal Shelter where she walks the dogs and socializes the cats.
Even in middle school she was active and volunteered for the Students Against Destructive Decisions — a group she really enjoyed helping out.
“I’ve always liked to volunteer and help other people,” she said. “It’s part of being active in the community.”
And somewhere through all these packed days, Zebrowski finds time to do her homework after school and on occasion to give thirty minute, private violin lessons to younger players. Although the pandemic stopped many of her outreach efforts including her dance, she still continued to teach privately but with a mask on.
More immediately, however, Zebrowski worked on a music festival organized by the ESYO’s Young Leaders that featured chamber music groups of ESYO players on June 13 at Altamont’s Orsini Park. Instead of tickets, patrons were asked to bring canned food, which was then donated to the Regional Food Bank.
“It’s the first year to have the festival and we wanted something fun to bring people together,” she said.
When she attends Schenectady County Community College in the fall, she’ll continue to study with Barker-Schwartz and hopes to have more time to expand her horizons to do swing dancing. But changes in focus are already in mind.
“I want to continue with my music but not as a career,” she said.