Although music programs have taken a back seat to priority listings in the past, PJUSD was eager to place music and arts on their priority funding list this year, and have since reaped the benefits.
The district was awarded the Fender Music Foundation grant earlier this year, which provided roughly 160 electric guitars at an estimated value of $32,000. Forty guitars went to Patterson High School’s music program and an after school club, while 60 to 70 guitars went to Creekside Middle School.
At Creekside Middle School, the kids could be seen toying with their amplifiers, plucking their strings and bobbing their heads to a rhythmic beat while holding Fender guitars.
“We’ve had a limited supply of materials in the past,” said Susan Ingram, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade strings sessions at Creekside Middle School. “This grant changed that. It’s always amazing to have more instruments for the classroom. But the cool part for the students is that these are electric guitars. It definitely livens up the room.”
Ingram also said the grant helped add a new elective for sixth-grade students who were previously unable to take part in the program due to the lack of inventory. Guitars will also be set aside for Walnut Grove Elementary School to promote participation in extracurricular activities at an early age.
The funding will give the district a chance to lend the guitars to students to practice at home and also intends to introduce a wider range of extracurricular activities.
“It’s better for us because we get the privilege to play more,” said Maria Quintero, 13 of Creekside Middle School.
Apart from the added privilege, Ingram said the Fender grant allowed kids a versatile outlet for contemporary songs while developing a stage presence.
“This allows the kids to experience more than just the classics,” said Ingram. “They’ll get to play more contemporary songs, which gives them plenty of opportunities to develop their skills and stage presence.”
“We’ve learned a lot, but Spanish theme is my favorite so far,” said Mikinzie Potter, 13, of Ingram’s class.
“I like He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” added Jimmy Meza, 12. “I like that we get amplifiers too.”
The second grant, known as the Classics for Kids Foundation: String Instrument, provided additional finances to boost the district’s music programs. The grant awarded $7,000 to the school, which was matched by the District and school sites to provide 58 string instruments, including violins, violas, cellos and bass.
Veronica Miranda, assistant superintendent of educational services, said the school district is ecstatic to have received these opportunities, and will continue to seek networking possibilities in the near future.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to achieve our goal in giving our kids a top priority program,” said Miranda. “It’s important that we continue to address our district’s needs, and continue to expose these kids to more opportunities early on.”
Additional grants awarded were the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, a $12,419 grant that provides students with a variety of snacks throughout the school day to Grayson, and Saucony, a Run for Good Program worth $10,000 to increase participation in running at Creekside Middle School.
The added total of the grants awarded to the District were $61,419 as of mid-August. Twelve grants are currently pending, which exceed over $200,000. More information will become available throughout the school year.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24 or email@example.com.