By Michael Pepin
Inspiration has a great deal to do with success, and for many FC students involved in music, this inspiration began with the elementary school tour, in which Highland Hills middle school eighth graders play for the elementary school kids to inspire them to pursue music in middle and eventually high school. However, when it became known that the school board was thinking about cutting this program, several students stepped up to the plate and formed Project Keep the Inspiration to show just how important this tour was to the school board.
“We first heard about the elementary school tour being cancelled by Mr. Thomas in band class. It’s something that a lot of people look forward to and it’s a big part of the program,” said eighth grader Alleson Estar, who, along with her friend Camden Hardin first formed the project. With the number of arts programs being cut from schools, they said they felt inspired to make sure that the same thing does not happen to their music program.
Since then, they have created a page on Facebook to advertise the project, and wrote a formal letter to the school board to persuade them against their decision. In addition, they got over 130 students from the middle school and Floyd Central high school to sign a petition. They presented all of this to the school board on Monday, April 8th.
They argued that music was vital to the growth of elementary and middle school students, and that the elementary school tour encouraged students to join the music program.
“I remember when I was in elementary school and when the band came to visit Galena. He (the band director) stopped and turned around and asked a question, ‘Who would like to come up and direct the band?’ Out of the hundreds of kids that raised their hands, he chose me. At that moment when I walked up there, I realized that I wanted to be in band, and play music,” said former FC student Zach Stigler.
“I believe that the elementary school tour is necessary because if we don’t have it, then people will be less inclined to join band,” said Hardin. She believes that the tour is necessary to inspire the younger generation to play an instrument, and that they will join because they wanted to. This tour was, after all, first designed to show the elementary school students what they can do in middle school. When they see firsthand the result of the work it will take to learn an instrument, more are willing to put in the effort. With more students that are willing to put in the necessary effort, the band program improves.
“The elementary school tour is the reason that I did band in middle school. Without it, I would not have learned how to play the saxophone and then gone on to marching band,” said sophomore Christian Bush. When middle school band students progress to the high school level, they are required to participate in one year of marching band. For many, that one year leads to a lot of good times and memories.
“Marching band has become part of my life, a lot of great memories were made during band season,” said Bush.
In addition to inspiring the elementary school students, the middle school students receive a surge of inspiration as they see first hand the effect of music on others and get to show off their talent.
“The elementary school tour is something that really benefits all the students; the eighth graders get a lot out of it as well as the middle schoolers,” said senior Christian Thomas.
Recently, Highland Hills principal Steve Griffin relayed the information that the school board has decided to keep the tour active annually.
The school’s decision to keep the elementary school tour was brought about heavily by Project Keep the Inspiration. The HHMS eighth graders will continue to display their talents to the nearby elementary schools. The musical arts program will continue in the years to come.
“I treasure my four years in marching band, and that wouldn’t have been possible without the elementary school tour,” said senior Derek Hanke.