Valdosta middle schoolers embrace the arts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta middle schoolers embrace the arts

October 3, 2006

Valdosta - When Keisha Williams graduated from Valdosta State University and took a job as a music instructor at Southland Christian School, she had an agenda to help create a string program for the 6th and 7th graders. 

"There are some kids who don't want to be in band and some kids who don't want to sing so we need another option for those kids," Williams says.

But her idea met much criticism.  "They would say, 'Why don't you do band, everyone has band,' and that's the point.  We want to be different and make a difference and find something to draw more students to school," she adds.

With a grant from the Valdosta Board of Relaters, she was able to rent the instruments and implement her program.  Most of the students had never touched an instrument but Two months in and it's been a huge success.  "After the first week on instruments the students were very excited.  Some even said they could not believe how much fun it actually was."

Williams and the Southland faculty now hope to see the program grow and their younger students to gain interest in playing a musical instrument.

And if their current students are any indication, that goal should be easy. "I learned so much in this class, and I should keep trying and pushing myself harder," said 6th grade Darrell McCloud as he brandished his new viola.

Seventh Grader Casey Dowse agrees.  "I was excited I got to try something new, because none of my friends that go to other schools get to try this."

They now hope the success of this program will lead to funding to get their own instruments and better the program.

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