Scholarship and Music Go Together - 
The 2011 SPIRIT Scholarship and Music Commission 
December 12, 2010, Rockville, Maryland 
Happy Birthday, Robert! 

In honor of Robert Yin's birthday today, December 12, 2010, Robert's family and the Robert Yin SPIRIT Foundation Inc. are pleased to announce not one but two exciting gifts to the Wootton High School community:  the SPIRIT Scholarship and a Music Commission.

Robert Yin, Wootton High Class of 2008, would have turned 21-years-old today. Robert Yin died tragically on May 17, 2010 from head injuries, as a result of pole vaulting for Grinnell College at the NCAA Midwest Division III Track & Field Championships held at Illinois College. These two gifts will keep Robert's memory alive for some time to come.

The SPIRIT Scholarship

The SPIRIT Scholarship is a new annual award to a college-bound senior from Thomas Spriggs Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland. Beginning in the 2010-2011 school year, one individual will be honored with the annual award of $5000. Up to five finalists will be recognized with a $100 prize. 

Wootton High School is consistently ranked among the top public schools in the nation. The SPIRIT Scholarship will help perpetuate the traditions of academic excellence and a well-rounded education for its great student body. 

The SPIRIT Scholarship is intended to reflect on character. The Foundation and the SPIRIT Scholarship both include "SPIRIT" in their names, in order to emphasize the importance of a positive attitude, leadership qualities, and community involvement. As an acronym, SPIRIT stands for “Show Potential, Integrity, Responsibility, and Inspire Thousands!” The young SPIRIT Scholar who wins this award will represent such values.

The winning SPIRIT Scholar should have a broad range of talents. The competition for the scholarship requires the applicant be active in school, a good student with a good attitude, as well as a good friend and helper within his or her community. The competition will require an essay on the subject of "Honesty and Genuineness" or other values. Additionally, competition includes an element requiring a YouTube video of the student's original creation that highlights his or her essay and other talent. Robert Yin himself is the original quintessential SPIRIT Scholar!

This SPIRIT Scholarship begins as a gift of love. Many of the donors giving to this scholarship are Wootton students, families, alumni. Many are friends or former classmates of the Wootton graduate.  
The annual scholarships will continue through the year 2020, for a minimum of 10 years. Fundraising for the SPIRIT Scholarship is continuing throughout this academic year. Events like the Rock for Robert Thanksgiving Benefit Concert, the Burrito Run, and t-shirt sales have already raised about $2000.  
In addition, the SPIRIT Scholarship is made possible in part due to a generous pledge of $50,000 by an anonymous donor to the SPIRIT Foundation.

The Robert Yin SPIRIT Foundation has a dream:  to give SPIRIT Scholarships to the Wootton community for many many years. The goal is to endow the scholarship fund in order to give back to the Wootton community throughout our lifetimes.

Composer and Montgomery College Professor Justin BoyerThe Music Commission

In honor of Robert, his past Peabody Preparatory Institute music theory teacher and contemporary composer, Justin Boyer, is composing a suite of music. This work will include movements using all of the genres of music that Robert loved. The entire work will be five movements, featuring voice in first and fifth movements like bookends, with strings-only music in the middle. 

The suite will open with a male, a capella piece which could be performed independently of the entire work. Next the string orchestra and its melodic material will speak to us as Robert’s voice. The entire work will end with a rousing and joyful piece for string orchestra and full chorus.

We hope that this music will be another way for Robert’s values and personality to speak to young musicians and concert-goers for years to come. Everyone can learn something about how to live their lives by how much Robert made the most of all the opportunities that came to him.

Mr. Boyer taught theory to brothers Robert and Alex Yin over years of Saturday classes at the Peabody Conservatory. His example inspired both Yin brothers to decide to be music majors in college. Boyer now is professor of music theory at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD. In November 2010, the chamber orchestra, Inscape, premiered a new symphony by Justin Boyer.

The Music Commission is made possible thanks to the support of Robert's grandmother, Annia Giger, plus and other friends and family. This piece will be performed by the Wootton High School Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Singers on May 17, 2011 at the Wootton High School Auditorium, coincidently on the 1-year anniversary of Robert's death.

Contributors to this blog include Sandra Giger, Alex Yin, and Carolyn Herman