Cuneiform. Hieroglyphics. Standard English.
Pencil in hand, CCHS senior Sarah Sarver utilizes a very particular language when recording her thoughts and emotions in her daily journal, one just as diverse and telling as any other on the planet.
“Music has been a constant in my life since before I can remember,” Sarver said. “It is in everything I do, from singing while I fold the laundry to performing before thousands of people and I do not ever want to give it up.”
From belting out lyrics in church at a young age to beginning piano lessons at eight years old, Sarver had always been musically inclined. Yet, her small, rural hometown of Webster, Florida had made progress in the art form increasingly difficult as she often spent 6 hours a week commuting to and from music lessons.
However, against all odds, Sarver had procured a $50,000 music scholarship to a boarding school in northern Florida in her sophomore year. Now, between studying opera and piano, she was able to sing with new friends from around the world.
“When it was someone’s birthday, everyone would come into the common room and we would sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in every language of everyone in the room,” Sarver said.
Sarver had been studying music at the Montverde Academy until last year in March, when her mother’s job was transferred to South Florida. However, her musical prowess did not end with her studies in boarding school and instead, were furthered by her involvement in CCHS’s chorus as well as the Miss America pageantry system.
Out of the 5,000 singers who competed for Florida’s All-State Chorus, only 25 were selected, Sarver being one out of the two chosen from this district.
But aside from Cooper’s chorus, Sarver is glad to entertain anyone, anywhere with her vocals and performs at numerous events about twice every week around Miami as Miss Miami’s Most Outstanding Teen.
“Usually they like pop music in Miami [and] at boarding school, they liked all different languages,” she said. “In Webster, they only like country music.”
With the 2017 Miss Miami’s Outstanding Teen having been her first pageant, Sarver did not know what to expect going into it, but found solace in the other girls and deeper meaning within the contest.
“The stigma surrounding pageants stops little girls from taking great opportunities,” Sarver said. “Pageants are not what you see in Toddlers and Tiaras and it is not beauty over brains. The Miss America organization has one of the largest scholarships in the United States.”
From judgment based on everything from academic rigor to physical fitness, the Miss America system of pageants searches for the most well-rounded individual- something Sarver knows much about being.
Already characterized as a public figure, Sarver wants to continue to bring stability to various Florida communities through law. For the past two years, she has been interning at a law firm in Orlando during the summer, representing first responders such as firemen, police officers and corrections officers.
“I am really passionate about it because they protect our communities but no one really protects them,” Sarver said.
A voice for the voiceless, Sarah also devotes her time to being an ambassador for the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Eat for Health and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
As a patron for the Children’s Hospital, Sarver often spends time speaking with the ill children there and is amazed by their wisdom.
“Everyday they are not treated like kids – the doctors are speaking with them about serious things and they are not surrounded by other kids, so they speak like adults,” she said. “It took me by surprise how mature they are.”
Her commitment to aiding children is exemplified further through her participation in the 4-H youth development program, where she is a teen ambassador for the Eat for Health division. Through a partnership between the University of Florida and United Health Care, this program endeavors to teach Florida youth about the importance of a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
“I travel around to schools and talk to kids about things like [the benefits of] exercising for an hour a day, how much sugar is in a liter of coke [and so on],” she said.
Her love for helping to maintain the well-being of children can also be exhibited in her Make-A-Wish Foundation ambassadorship.
“My dad works at the Orlando International Airport and, when I was eight, I asked him what his favorite part of his job was,” Sarver said. “He told me about Wish Flights – the airplane rides where kids with [Make-A-Wish] who have chosen Disney are flown to Orlando.”
An ardent Sarver wanted to help raise money for the foundation and cheerfully sang Christmas carols outside of Publix for donations.
“That was really my first successful vocal performance and if I had not been met with such success, I do not think I would be singing today,” she said. “That is [also] why I founded my charity because I want other kids to improve for a bigger reason than applause.”
Sarver’s own charity, Dreams Come True Through You, does exactly that by providing performance opportunities to youth who are interested in the fine arts while the proceeds from their show benefit critically-ill children through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Give Kids the World or the Children’s Miracle Network. The performance does not only bring satisfaction to those who purchase the art or watch the performance but also to the children who know that their dream has really come true.
In addition to her charitable activities, Sarver also participates in the National Honor Society, the National English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Spanish Club and band at CCHS.
And when posed with the question of how she is able to do so much, Sarver only had one answer.
“I have a really hard time saying no to myself.”
Photo courtesy of Sarah Sarver