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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Ruby Tilghman

Ruby Tilghman

Panama City, Florida

Ruby Tilghman, 16, of Panama City, Florida, a junior at North Bay Haven Charter Academy, has raised more than $30,000 to fund public school music programs by organizing concerts featuring young musicians. “I discovered my love for music in my elementary school music program,” said Ruby. “But not all schools have music programs. I wanted to give every student in my reach the same opportunity that I had to pursue an interest in fine arts.” So four years ago, she began hosting recitals and caroling nights to give young students a chance to perform in public. Then she decided she wanted to raise money to provide grants for music-related needs at public schools.

To accomplish both objectives, Ruby created a nonprofit organization called “Many Mini Musicians” and started planning community fundraising concerts. She picks the venues, recruits performers, provides equipment, arranges for food vendors, works with community leaders, and advertises the events through her website. Her concerts so far have given more than 40 young musicians a year the opportunity to showcase their talents, and have paid for musical instruments, sheet music, books and other resources at schools in her area. Ruby also helped fund a music room at a local library, authored a children’s book titled “Ruby’s Recital,” and organized a virtual concert featuring young musicians across the country after the COVID-19 pandemic began.