Pass It On! Scholars Award

The Pass It On! Scholars Award is given each Fall to a High School Senior, University or College student, selected by CMN’s Pass it on Project Reviewers as the candidate most likely, throughout their lifetime, to continue celebrating the positive power of music in the lives of children AND to recognize the importance of networking and sharing knowledge, music, ideas, and songs.

If you would like to nominate a candidate for 2021 award, please download this application and return it to Alice Burba at

2020: Sagan Thacker

Sagan Thacker is extremely excited to be a PIO! Scholar. Born and raised near Asheville, North Carolina, they grew up homeschooled and given a diverse and open-ended education by their parents. They also listened to a wide variety of high-quality children’s music and continued to recognize its artistic and societal worth as they grew older. In 2016, they got the opportunity to succeed Tim “T-Bone” Arem as the volunteer host and producer of Radio Active Kids, an independent kids’ music radio show in Asheville. They have never looked back since and have become deeply involved in the worldwide kids’ music community.

An addition to their work in the children’s music world, they recently graduated with a Bachelor’s in History from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where their award-winning undergraduate research focused on second-wave feminism and underground comics. They are now preparing to attend graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to become a librarian and to continue working to foster local and global community. Their work at Radio Active Kids has shown them the power and significance of artistic and personal collaboration and mutual respect in order to cultivate a better world for all.

Sagan's Essay:

When I began producing my kids’ music radio show, Radio Active Kids, four years ago, I had no idea quite what I was getting into. I knew that kids’ music had made a positive impact on my life and that I wanted to share that positivity with others. Once I started interacting with artists and fans in the kindie world, I saw how much deeper and essential the community I had entered really is, and I quickly realized what I could do with the platform I had been given.

On Radio Active Kids today, I make it my mission to publicize as many intelligent, thoughtful kids’ musicians as possible and to foster as much of a global kindie community as I can. I have sought out and played active, independent kids’ musicians from at least 27 countries (and counting!), using my show to connect my listeners with an unmatched variety of sounds, textures and cultures. I believe that by doing this, I can make the world of all my listeners—kids and adults alike—a little bigger in size and scope.

In addition, the interactions that I have had with my listeners affirm that my hard work does make a positive impact on their lives. It is a truly wonderful feeling when, for example, I receive a message from a dad requesting a song for his husband and their daughter by a family band of Sri Lankan immigrants to Australia (“Jamerah and her Dads” by the Cuddly Koalas). This is exactly the kind of familial, cross-cultural, and inclusive connection that I want to create, and it delights me that I can do it through kids’ music and support the community of which I so enjoy being a part.

As I move into the next phase of my life—attending graduate school to become a librarian—I see no end in sight for my radio show or the work I put into it. I won’t stop. I can’t stop—the community that I have upheld and the difference I have made to listeners and artists are far too important to me and the music to abandon them now. I am sure that I and the show will continue to change and evolve with time. Furthermore, as someone who is recently out as nonbinary, I recognize the vital importance of queer representation in the kids’ music world, and I am proudly out to all my listeners and friends.

In short, I have found the way that I can be imaginative and mutually beneficial in today’s world. Through sharing a multitude of quality kids’ music—and by simply being there and encouraging creative relationships worldwide, I can make the world brighter and wider for kids—and anyone else who happens to tune in and expand their mind. That is something of which I can truly be proud, and I look forward to continuing to share the world of kids’ music with the rest of the world as long as I possibly can.

– Sagan Thacker

2020 Runner-Ups:

  • Madison Hughes

    Catholic University of America

  • Zachary Shand
    Stanford University

  • Alexandra Alberta
    University of Maryland

2019: Sophia Bereaud

Sophia Bereaud definitely fits the description of a PIO! Scholar perfectly. A Massachusetts native and Emory University sophomore, Sophia has been singing in CMN Round Robins since age ten. She was gifted the simple seed of singing by her parents, both of whom make music with children for their living and occasionally do so in family band format. She chased the joy of music-making through community concerts with her family, through seven years in the Boston Children’s Chorus, and in school choirs from fourth to thirteenth grade and counting. Sophia is pursuing a double major in Music and Linguistics.

Beginning next year Sophia will serve as Vice President of Emory’s Concert Choir. She contributes to Georgia social justice efforts as an intern at the Federal Defender Program, a public legal office representing GA death row inmates who cannot afford counsel, and as an ESL teacher for local refugee populations through Emory’s Project SHINE. Though her professional path is still unfolding, she is inspired by the teachers and creators around her—at CMN and beyond—to harness the power of music as a tool for social good.

The Children's Music Network
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