Kathleen Hawkins teaches her students how the violin can mimic the expressiveness of the human voice.
But McAllen 3rd grader, Jillian Caceres, doesn't think playing the string instrument alone could truly vocalize the tremendous impact her violin instructor and mentor has made on her personal heartstrings.
She's more than a teacher, said Caceres. She's like a best friend. I love her."
The two have been a team for the last 3 years.
It all started when Jillian's mother, Cyndy Caceres, turned to Valley Symphony Orchestra's, "Success thru Strings" program, as an artistic outlet for her daughter.
Cyndy says Kathleen is instrumental with awarding her daughter a scholarship to join.
The single mother said the gesture has ultimately changed her daughter's life forever.
Without Kathleen giving her (daughter) the opportunity three years ago| She would not be where she is now," Cyndy said.
Kathleen's lessons far exceed musical boundaries to ensure Jillian hits the right notes in life.
Jillian: She makes me more proud of myself... And not, like, doubting myself.
Mom: She'd give up her time... Give up what she was doing.
Jillian: She does so much... And she makes my life happy.
Mom: I wanted to Pay it 4Ward because she pays it forward everyday... Giving up her time... Her services... Her attention... Her love and care... For not only the students but for the parents.
Pronto Insurance knows the tune for the Pay it 4Ward prize.
This story really tugs on our heartstrings, said Domingo Reyna. It gives us great pleasure at Pronto Insurance and Action 4 News to award you $400 to Pay it 4Ward!"
Ryan: As part of the Pay it 4Ward surprise, Kathleen thinks we're here for a violin lesson... That's not the case. Instead, we're here with the cash and are ready to share the news of how instrumental she is in Jillian's life.
Kathleen: Nice to meet you... Hi.
Ryan: You look surprised to see me.
Ryan: Why are you shocked?
Kathleen: Cause I thought we were having a violin lesson.
Ryan: No violin lesson... It's actually a lesson for you.
Cyndy: Without you she would not be able to express herself the way she does without you... None of this would be possible. On behalf of Action 4 News and Pronto Insurance... We'd like to Pay it 4Ward.
Jillian: Hold out your hand|.$100, $200, $300, $400... You just make my life so wonderful.
Kathleen: I TMm in shock and so is my daughter obviously.
Jillian: You just mean so much to me and all the time you give me.
Kathleen: I probably learn more from you than you learn from taking lessons.
Kathleen's considers all of her students family, especially Jillian.
Kathleen: I think she makes me a better person.
Kathleen proves when music comes from the heart, it TMs one more way to Pay it 4Ward!
Kathleen plans to use her $400 prize to buy supplies for her musical students.