Zyon Vassell

  • Program: Charter Oak Cultural Center
  • School: Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School
  • Location: Rocky Hill, Connecticut
  • Instrument: Violin

Zyon Vassell is a 9-year-old student at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Zyon is a dedicated violinist, pianist, an incredibly creative writer and artist, and an aspiring future president (though he would also be excited to run for mayor).

Zyon has been playing the violin since he was six years old. He is currently enrolled in the advanced violin class at Charter Oak Cultural Center as well as the Hartford All-City Youth Orchestra. Zyon loves a wide variety of music, and is currently trying to master pieces by artists as wide-ranging as Beethoven and Imagine Dragons: "I'm now learning how to play Ode to Joy, Believer, Canon in D. Also Titanic and Baby Shark. I'm now learning to play those on violin too!"

One of Zyon's favorite memories is a solo performance of "You Raise Me Up" at his family's church. He explained that when he first went on stage to perform, he wasn't sure he would be able to play by himself, but that one of his favorite books helped give him courage. "When I first got up the stairs and looked at the audience I felt very silly and very embarrassed," said Zyon. He said his mind immediately went to: "A book about a girl who was giving a speech for school president and she had a bad dream about it. Her mom told her that she had the same problem, so she told her to look at the people that had a familiar face and that would help her relax and make no mistakes." Zyon said he tried the same trick, and it worked perfectly. "I looked at my mom, my auntie, my cousins," he said. "And then when I started playing I played through the whole song with no mistakes!"

Zyon has strong connections to his family. His parents are from St. Lucia and Jamaica, and he loves spending time with his grandmother and his aunties: Hazel, Jean and Sparkle.

Zyon's favorite school subjects are science, math, and reading, and he has a lot of creative passions in addition to music: "I like to draw, I love to write, and I love to read a lot. I am what my mom calls a voracious reader. During the last school year I got rewarded for reading 77 books in one school year in addition to all of my school work and class assignments." Zyon says he loves books that feel exciting, especially stories where characters solve difficult challenges. Zyon also loves public speaking and he is sometimes asked to speak at churches and nursing homes: "I love to inform people about information they may not know of, especially kids."

Zyon's love of books even makes grocery shopping an adventure: "When we go to BJ's I just ask 'Mommy, mommy, can I get a book?' And then I run up and down aisles, and once I see the book section I just screeeeech to a stop. And when I find the book that captures my attention, I immediately start to read, I just read and read." Zyon said sometimes he gets a little too excited about a new story: "Because this is me, just walking down the aisles, reading my book, and then I look up and say, 'Where's Mommy?' I get so distracted by reading the book that I lose my mom...that's me!"

Zyon loves writing as well. He works on his own stories and poems in Charter Oak Cultural Center's Young Writer's Club, and he loves finishing creative writing prompts that his teachers give him in school. His own stories include an inspiring tale about a young artist who didn't give up on drawing when children at school made fun of his pictures, a spooky Halloween tale about a monster who kidnaps trick-or-treaters, and an adventure story about a pair of monster trucks.

"We were writing about toys that came to life," he said. "Mine was about two monster trucks who were running from this big, big truck who wants to squish them with its big roller. And they were speeding and the first truck's wheel got stuck. And then the second one started pushing and pushing! They were this close to getting squished when they eventually made it out! Then the monster sank in the mud because it was so heavy!"

Though Zyon has a lot of creative passions he wants to continue pursuing, the thing he cares most about is helping other people have a good life. Zyon said: "I want to pursue running for president of the USA, or mayor of a city, so I can fix problems and concerns we as people have. I want to help homeless people get food and shelter. What I want to do is use my own money and build houses for them. I will ask them where they want the house to be. I'll get my blueprints, start drawing whatever the house is going to be like, and then surprise them. I really want people to have a good life!"