Sara Zeng: From Competitions to Classrooms

Meet Sara Zeng

by Adriana Cabezas

Singer, songwriter, teacher, philanthropist and Miss Florida 2017 – just a few of the many titles Sara Zeng carries.

“Being Miss Florida is many great things—you wear many hats. Basically, you're kind of like a princess, but you're a princess that helps people, and you're an ambassador for your state and for the organization,” Zeng, 23, said.

In 2017, after winning the title of Miss Florida, Zeng put all her plans on hold to fulfill the responsibilities of holding the title. Zeng spent the whole year as Miss Florida traveling all over the state being part of charity and philanthropy events with organizations like the Everglades Foundation.

After her term as Miss Florida ended, she began to pursue her calling — teaching.

Two years after being crowned Miss Florida, Zeng works as the choir and theatre director at Indian Trails Middle School in Palm Coast.

“Teaching is one of those things where you never know what's going to happen that day. It's kind of exciting. Kind of keeps you on your toes,” she said. “But my favorite part about teaching is that light bulb moment when your student finally understands the material or even just the little victories where a student says, ‘this class really made my day’ or ‘I had a lot of fun in your class.’”

Zeng wishes to transmit confidence to her students through music.

“My hope is that when they leave my class at the end of their two years, they're more confident in themselves,” she said. “I think that is something that's very special about music. It creates confidence, boosts your self-esteem and you aren't afraid to be in front of people anymore. When I hear that from my students, I know I've done my job, and it's definitely the most rewarding part.”

Music has always played a central role in Zeng’s life. She started playing piano when she was 5 years old, and throughout the years, she’s learned how to play other instruments, including the guitar, the ukulele and the flute.

She has also been singing since she can remember, but for a very long time, she refused to sing in front of people. That all changed when Zeng took a class in college which required her to sing in front of her whole class without musical accompaniment.

“Immediately I had to get over my fear [of singing in public] or not get a good grade,” she said. “So, I started singing and playing, and I just realized, like, ‘why have I spent 18 years of my life being afraid to sing?’ Because it's something that I love so, so much.”

A woman of many, many talents, Zeng is also a songwriter and prides herself on writing her own music. She hopes to one day be able to release her work to the world.

Sara Zeng will be performing live in the Colonial Oak Music Park on Oct. 24. Make sure to stop by and support this incredible local talent that’s taking Florida by storm.

Sara: “Humans are literally hardwired to understand music, and there's no other species in the universe that is like that. Human beings are just so unique in that way. Our brain was made to understand how music works and to be able to enjoy it.”

dave kosciolek