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Graham School to receive instruments from Guitar Center Music Foundation

Graham School to receive instruments from Guitar Center Music Foundation

Fourth grade students at Graham School sang in their music class on Thursday, February 8, 2024, but soon several of them will have new instruments to play. Graham School was recently approved to receive a grant from the Guitar Center Music Foundation for musical equipment. 

The Guitar Center Music Foundation awards up to $5,000 in musical equipment to schools across the US that are chosen based on need. Guitar Center will supply the school with new instruments and mouthpieces for instruments, so Graham School will also be able to repair and utilize equipment they already have. 

“When I started this position on November 30, I was excited and hopeful about how we could build our arts programs districtwide in music, theater, visual arts and dance,” said Creative Executive Director Angela Hall. “Just two and a half months later from when I first started, Graham School receiving this grant just keeps the hope and passion alive inside of me!” 

Several music teachers from schools across the District applied for the grant after Ms. Hall notified them of it, but only Graham was selected for the award. Guitar Center will deliver the equipment to Graham School, and the instruments will be added to their supplies for students interested in playing them. Their music teacher plans to use the equipment to start a fourth-grade band.  

“Having a school band will help in many ways,” said Anthony Stelmach, music teacher at Graham. “It helps the students with confidence, and they learn to work with a team since some of them don’t do sports. Everyone has their own role, and they’re working together to create that cohesive sound as a unit. Music also involves mathematics with rhythms, tempo and form, so they’re just making different connections which is very helpful.” 

Students are looking forward to the new instruments, and some have already chosen the ones they want to play. 

“I’m really excited because there will be so many new sounds, and it will sound amazing,” said Amber Booker, fourth grade student at Graham. “I want to play the trombone because it’s like a bass, and I really like the way it sounds when people play it.” 

The fourth-grade band will start off with only brass instruments. Mr. Stelmach hopes that the relationship with Guitar Center will continue into upcoming years, so they can introduce new instruments and grade levels to the band. The school intends to request woodwinds and other instruments to complete their band.  

“I think that for a school like Graham, the idea that someone is giving them something that they need is morale building,” said Ms. Hall. “Everyone was just excited that a basic need for us is being met. It just makes me feel so incredibly fantastic.” 

Graham students dressed in dresses.

Graham School hosted a Prince and Princess Ball on June 12, 2023. Children in K-2 danced the afternoon away at Graham School’s Prince and Princess Ball. They dined on pizza and cupcakes and left with a goody bag.

Teacher dressed as student at Graham School.

Graham School culminated Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week with a scholarly surprise for their students. The staff organized a school spirit day in which they came to school dressed like Graham School students.

Principal, teachers, and the MVPD wellness division

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Graham School hosted Lieutenant Krista Mann, commanding officer in the Wellness Division for the Mount Vernon Police Department, to discuss the department's wellness center and raise awareness about mental health on Thursday, May 25, 2023.

Students getting their donuts before testing

Sixth-grade students at Graham School received encouragement from their teacher Carmela Sanzi prior to the NYS English Language Arts and computer-based tests. On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, each student in her class received a donut with the message, “Donut stress! Just do your best!” The room was also decorated with balloons as they ate their donuts.