An elementary school in Whalley is getting some money to help students connect with their cultural identity through music.
Old Yale Road Elementary school (10135 132 Street) is one of 78 schools across Canada selected to receive a grant as part of the 2022 MusiCounts Band Aid program, it was announced Friday (April 22).
The school already knows what it will do with the $12,000.
“The plan is to update some of our instruments, buy a class set of ukuleles and a bunch of guitars as well,” said Old Yale Road Elementary’s music teacher Kevin Withers. “I’m also hoping to involve the whole school in a project to build Indigenous drums. We’ll be getting supplies and working with Indigenous people from the community and helping teachers at DEC to help us facilitate the students making a class set of drums.”
But it’s not just about music, he added.
“It’s learning about different cultures and experiencing some of the truth and reconciliation firsthand by participating in building drums and learning songs and sharing that First Nations knowledge. For students who might not celebrate their own heritage or culture, I think it’s a great opportunity to allow them to shine and grow and be proud of sharing something with their friends and peers in the school.”
Joe Leibovitch is the school’s principal.
“A lot of our kids only feel confident at school when they’re good at something, so the more access points we have to build their confidence, the better,” Leibovitch said.
“This helps these kids be exposed to different things that they regularly wouldn’t get at an inner-city school, and in turn, connects them to the school more and lets them experience success.”
Calling itself ‘Canada’s music education charity,’ MusiCounts is associated with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Juno Awards. Is goal is to make music accessible and inclusive for youth across Canada by providing instruments, equipment and resources.
Other schools in B.C. to receive a grant are:
• Dr. D.A. Perley Elementary, Grand Forks
• Ecole Mary Hill Elementary School, Port Coquitlam
• Squiala Elementary & Secondary School, Chilliwack
• Agassiz Elementary-Secondary School, Agassiz
• GW Carlson Elementary, Fort Nelson
• WJ Mouat Secondary School, Abbotsford
• Cunningham Elementary, Vancouver
• A.D. Rundle Middle School, Chilliwack