Student stars: Yazmin Bennett-Kelly of Schiller Middle School


Chronicle intern Tracy Patinksi sat down with students from many Northside schools to talk about their dreams and goals. These students work hard day in and day out to make their families and teachers proud, and each one was nominated for these profiles by their teachers and principals for their accomplishments in academics, sports, arts and more.


As an eighth grade student, this year marks Yazmin’s last at Schiller Middle School, a place where she has met both great friends and great teachers.

Yazmin recently found out that she will be attending the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts next year, and is looking forward to high school with lots of anticipation.

“I’m getting excited just talking about it,” she said.

Yazmin has been interested in singing since she was a little girl, and acting in plays since third grade. This year, she had a solo in Schiller’s Christmas musical, and in the past has performed in the play “High School Musical” as the star female singer Gabriella. In her elementary school, she participated in both the yearly spring and Christmas plays.

“I just love music. No one ever really ever even introduced me to it,” she said, citing Beyonce and Whiz Khalifa as two of her singing influences.

Despite hearing about CAPA before coming to Schiller, Yazmin decided that she wanted a middle school experience with her friends and the Schiller teachers. But since attending, her interests have stayed devoted largely to music.

She was accepted to CAPA this year after applying for one of 34 student openings, and plans to spend high school studying musical theater. She is already looking forward to meeting new people, learning new things about music and making new friends.

Yazmin is also the recipient of the $1,000 Ben Carson scholarship, which is given to students who excel in academics. She can reapply for the scholarship every year during her time at CAPA.

Her goal for her upcoming high school years?

“I want to be remembered,” she said. “I want to be in lots and lots of musicals.”

Once she is finished with CAPA, Yazmin ultimately hopes to be an actress or a child psychologist. Potential places for college include Penn State and Miami, and she hopes to get out of the city and travel as much as she can.

But of course, Yazmin will have fond memories of her eighth grade year and her friends at Schiller. This year, she is trying to finish school being the best person she can be, and is grateful for all the encouragement from her friends in applying to CAPA.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading biographies (currently, she is in the middle of “The Diary of Anne Frank”), and shopping. She is a member of the Peace Makers, a school organization that meets and discusses ways to make Schiller a better place. She also keeps up excellent grades, attributing them to the teachers she has studied with in middle school.

“They’re always there. They really do care,” she said.

Besides her teachers, she also mentioned her mother and grandma as great role models and sources of encouragement throughout her singing career.

“My mom brags about me all the time, always saying I’m going to be on TV,” she said, smiling.

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