HSLDA members receive 10% off! Access the HSLDA member coupon code on the Academy's Member Savings page.

1st Place: Elizabeth Cheng


Music is a big part of Elizabeth’s life. For her special achievement, she submitted her 40-minute senior recital at Julliard’s Pre-College, and her immense talent was evident. Her instructor, renowned Julliard violin teacher Masao Kawasaki, also wrote a letter of recommendation attesting to her abilities. So, we had to ask: what made her start playing?

“My home is very musical,” Elizabeth told us. “I actually started by trying to mimic my older sister with some chopsticks.”

She quickly traded her chopsticks for the violin, beginning at the tender age of four. Three years ago, she was accepted into Julliard’s Pre-College program, and the experience has been extremely rewarding. Violin has taught her many things, but especially how to just be patient with herself and take her time with things. That is the only way to excel.

Does she have a favorite piece to play?

“‘Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major,’” she says. “I’ve always loved that piece. And when I could finally play it, it was such a joy.”

Homeschooling has greatly blessed her family. Elizabeth loved having such a close relationship with her parents and sisters growing up. As the youngest, homeschooling got a little harder in high school when her sisters were in college—but that’s where HSLDA’s classes really helped. The interactive classroom environment filled a void.

“And I saw how important it is to learn from a biblical worldview,” she adds. “I love learning about the truth.”

Elizabeth is next headed to Patrick Henry College, where she will major in Environmental Stewardship and minor in Music. She’s excited to challenge herself with rigorous academic labor and build new friendships. She’s also a little nervous, but she’s learned that’s part of the growing process.

“If something seems daunting, you should just keep going one step at a time. It’s okay to fail; what’s more important is how you respond to failure.”

Wise words, Elizabeth! Congratulations again, and best of luck in all your future endeavors.