The Virtual Violinist

Meet Launch student Brianna Chay (pictured), a bright and bubbly 12 year old who recently wrote and published her own book.
By Savannah Waszczuk

Access Launch: How long have you been learning online?
Claudia Hayes: I started with Launch full-time in sixth grade, and now I’m in eighth grade. So this is my third year.

Access: What’s your favorite thing about your Launch classes?
C.H.: I really like Launch a lot because I can batch my assignments. So, for example, I’ll complete all of my assignments for one subject on Monday—like English—and then my English is done for the week. Then I’ll do my next subject on Tuesday, and Wednesday, and so on, and I only have to focus on one or two subjects each day. I’ve learned that this works best for me.

Access: What’s your favorite Launch class?
C.H.: Well, I love French, because I actually also took French in preschool and kind of remember a little bit! But I’d say my very favorite class is reading. My favorite assignments are when we are able to read whatever we want for 20 minutes, then write about it.

Access: What types of books do you like to read?
C.H.: My favorite book is “Out of my Mind,” and now I’m reading a sequel to that book called “Out of my Heart.” I’d say that my favorite books are fiction books.

Access: What are your other hobbies?
C.H.: I play the violin, and I’m a part of two orchestras. I also like horseback riding—I go riding every other Thursday. I have riding lessons, and then we get to go trail riding a lot, too.

Access: What orchestras are you a part of?
C.H.: Every Sunday I go to Columbia for The Missouri Symphony Conservatory—that’s the children’s program of The Missouri Symphony. We have a music skills class and a music history class there, and then we get to play. I’m usually there around four hours every week. And then I also play in the Lake Area Strings—that’s an adult group that I’m a part of. We play a lot of fun stuff, like Disney music and Christmas music.

Access: Can you play any other instruments? 
C.H.: I’m trying to learn the ukulele, and I can play the piano, kind of. And the electric violin.

Access: What’s your favorite type of music?
C.H.: I like all music. The playlist on my phone has something from every genre of music, really! But as far as what I play—I play classical music, pop music and country music, mostly.

Access: How about a favorite musical artist?
C.H.: Adele. And Alan Walker.

Access: And your favorite food?
C.H.: Pasta. Any pasta!

Access: What are you most likely to binge watch?
C.H.: “Girl Meets World.”

Access: Describe your typical day.
C.H.: I wake up and take my dog out—I have a dog, Violet, who is a Shih Tzu. Then I eat something, and then get started with school. I’ll take a few breaks throughout the day—like, I’ll take a quick break to play with my dog or to practice—and then I’ll get back to school work. Breaks help me stay focused. I usually try to get one subject done a day, but sometimes two.

Access: Do you have a scheduled start time?
C.H.: Not really—it all just depends on when I get up. I have a really hard time sleeping sometimes, which is another reason Launch has been good for me. I can wake up an hour or two later than I normally would.

Access: What’s your dream job?
C.H.: Well, I have a lot of those! I don’t know what I want to be, but I might be a violinist or something with children or dogs, or maybe even an archaeologist, because I really like fossils and rocks and stuff.

Access: Have you thought about where you want to go to college?
C.H.: Yeah. I kind of want to go to Notre Dame.

Access: What’s another fact about yourself, or something that’s interesting about you?
C.H.: Well, I was a preemie—I was born at 29 weeks. So on my birthday every year, I ask all of my friends for baby clothes, and then I go and donate them to the hospital in Columbia where I was born.

Access: What’s something you look forward to every year?
C.H.: Memorial Day. I always make extra flower arrangements with fake flowers, and I put them on really old tombstones that don’t have any flowers. Our Memorial Days are always very long, busy days! Last year we may have had 100 arrangements that we put out. We  always bring extra flowers, just to make sure I have enough.