Walnut Grove High School had a number of students express an interest in taking a music elective course in guitar. The school had the classroom and the instructor available, but faced a critical problem...no guitars. So CIS went to work to identify resources in the community, and after a few phone calls, found a champion for music education to save the day.
The Walton County Music Guild board was quickly polled by its executive director Brian Hardman, who came back with good news. The Guild would sponsor $1000 to purchase 20 guitars that could be issued on loan to students in the program. Without their support, this class would not have been held.
So what does this have to do with keeping kids in school? WGHS Assistant Principal Carole Hicks explains, "Because we didn't have funds to purchase guitars, we were going to be forced to replace the guitar class with another course that doesn't require instruments, one that students don't enjoy. Because of the extra funding that you have arranged for us, we have been able to add students to the guitar class, thus, saving the program. Since we began the guitar class a few years ago, it has been a refuge for many students who have no interest in athletics, band, or acting. It is amazing how these students have thrived as a result of continuing the course. Many of them perform in talent shows, others have formed bands of their own, and they are amazing! Students who were once invisible to their peers are now viewed with new respect by faculty and peers because of their talent."
The Music Guild saw this partnership as a great opportunity, too. "This is exactly the kind of outreach we want to be doing in the community," said Hardman. "Music education has to be part of our mission, and partnering with schools is a great way to do it."
When the community surrounds students with its resources and support, students, schools and the community win.