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People Taking Action: Local teen shares her piano passions for free in dad's tire shop!

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Posted at 9:57 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 21:57:43-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - You likely would not expect the sounds of Beethoven coming from a tire shop, but that's what you'll hear on certain days at Harris Tire Service in Portsmouth.

That's thanks to 16-year-old Elizabeth Pouloutides, who turned a back office at her dad's auto shop into a place she is teaching piano for free.

News 3 reporter Margaret Kavanagh first shared Elizabeth's story last week, and then we paid her a surprise follow-up visit to tell the teen that offering free piano lessons caught our attention.

We presented her with a News 3 People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

Elizabeth was nearly speechless.

"Oh my gosh! Thank you! I don't know what to say... wow! This is... this is really incredible, thank you!"

The rising 12th grader has been taking lessons herself since she was five, but how did she make the tutoring happen at her dad's tire shop?

"I was like, 'Hey, Dad - so we really need to use this office space. I hope you're cool with that... it's already been decided,'" she said playfully with a smile in front of her father, John Pouloutides, who laughed in agreement.

"Well, I live with three women and I just obeyed," he said.

Once Elizabeth took off with the idea, her mom went on Craigslist and found a piano. Before long, Elizabeth was tutoring a few students.

"I just really want to make piano more accessible to anyone in this community because it's really important for kids. One day I kinda came across an article and I was reading about all these benefits, and I had already known about what was the importance of piano and what it can do for developing brains," Elizabeth explained.

Patrick Cash, the father of 7-year-old Liam Cash, one of Elizabeth's students, couldn't agree more.

"My son is autistic, which means I reached out to her right after I saw the first interview - that quick - and we scheduled. And he [Liam] loves music!"

And that is why Elizabeth is doing this.

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"When I realized I could do this and I could teach piano, one of my many passions, I was like, 'Great,' because I wanna share it; I want to spread it."

For more information on Elizabeth's lessons, just reach out to her dad's automotive business Harris Tire Shop at (757) 484-2375.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.