June 7, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAT & MARIA COLE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED TO MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST ON PATH TO MERGE NEUROSCIENCE AND MUSIC
Monarch High School graduate Olga Borrero was inspired to transform music from solace as a pre-teen émigré to a career in music-centered medicine
BOCA RATON, FL — June 7, 2023
For Venezuela-born, 19-year-old Olga Borrero, music is much more than a personal passion — it is a calling to combat mental health challenges and neurological disorders facing teens and adults alike. As a student at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, FL, Borrero seized on music’s central role in her own mental health to overcome tremendous hardship, but it was music education that inspired her development as a composer, lyricist and instrumentalist in service to others.
As the 2023 recipient of the Nat & Maria Cole Memorial Scholarship from Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Ms. Borrero was awarded a four-year college scholarship as a deserving and excelling high school graduate who wishes to pursue her education and profession in the field of music.
She is enrolled to start Broward College this fall as a double major in music and neuroscience with plans to study and compose music — tapping into her repertoire of 11 instruments — and aspires to develop therapeutic programs for youth and new ways to prescribe music as medicine for the mind. Research supports Borrero’s conviction that music can treat harmful consequences of stress and decrease the devastating effects of disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
At the June 3 ceremony facilitated by the George Snow Scholarship Fund, the young talent was presented with the scholarship by Nat King Cole Generation Hope’s Executive Director Shanna St. John, Program Manager Glenda Lighter, and Borrero’s high school Band Director and mentor, Caleb Miller — the 2017 recipient of the same scholarship.
Miller shared, “Having received this award just six years ago, this was a thrilling, full-circle moment for me to present the Nat & Maria Cole Memorial Scholarship to my senior band member, Olga Borrero. A heartfelt thank you to the Nat King Cole Generation Hope team, for giving Olga and me these wonderful opportunities to serve and pay it forward!”
Borrero reflected, “I strive for my compositions to carry a meaningful message and to instill music with healthful benefits, so others can prevail over depression and anxiety, and find relief from neurological diseases that adversely affect the mind.”
OLGA BORRERO’S STORY
In 2018, the 12-year-old Borrero and her family fled Venezuela as the country continued to spiral under violent unrest, economic crisis and widespread hunger. These debilitating circumstances became a turning point for the young teen, who discovered emotional balance through the orchestra.
Like the legendary entertainer and performing artist Nat King Cole (1919-1965), who galvanized his extraordinary talent and breakthrough career while overcoming all the barriers of the Jim Crow era, Olga draws upon her own challenges to create music that brings joy and grounding to all. She embodies the ideals of her scholarship’s namesake, who cherished the privilege of bringing harmony to people with his music. Nat King Cole Generation Hope was co-founded by the twin daughters of the iconic musician to carry on the Cole family legacy, to bring equity to music education that empowers youth to find their sense of self and well-being through music.
Past recipients of the Nat & Maria Cole Memorial Scholarship:
2022 Dana Wolfe, Florida State University
Samuel Soliz, University of Central Florida — major in Instrumental Music Education
Matthew Velilla, University of North Texas — major in Music Education and Tuba
Intern at Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Boca Raton, FL
2018 Rachel Gebeloff, Florida State University
Primo Artists – handles logistics for talent roster such as Itzhak Perlman, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Bell, Valerie Coleman, and other world-renowned musicians
2016 Jon Paul Nesheiwat, Nashville State Community College
Singer/songwriter/instrumentalist, former contestant – NBC’s The Voice, member of boy band 5West
About Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc. (NKCGH)
Co-founded in 2008 by Timolin Cole and Casey Cole, twin daughters of legendary music artist Nat King Cole, Nat King Cole Generation Hope builds on the storied Cole family legacy: to create opportunities and expand access to music education for children with the greatest need. The charity fulfills that calling by funding music instruction programs, mentoring, resources and scholarships for youth, while bolstering music educators. The ultimate goal: expand enrichment and inspire as many children as possible, while galvanizing community and fundraising support.
Nat King Cole Generation Hope upholds the vision that music education is not a privilege, but an entitlement. All youth deserve the chance to experience musical expression and creation, and to pursue excellence and achievement in that realm. Budding performers, empowered by mentors and resources from NKCGH, can transform their passion and skill into paths of opportunity; and in turn, their instruments and voices uplift the world and heal humanity.
- 71,500+ children have been supported by NKCGH’s music education programs
- 51,500+ children have benefitted from donated instruments form Project Encore!
- $2.9 million in fundraising
- 250,000+ volunteer hours