When I was attending school, there were no “middle schools” and I was actually in the very first ninth grade class at Gresham Junior High School in 1971 when elementary schools restructured from grades 1-8 to grades 1-6. I do remember taking band, however, at Shannondale in sixth grade, attempting the clarinet as an elective.
Now middle schools have several electives to stretch students’ creativity and expand their interests. Electives can help students develop new skills and foster their creativity and self-expression. Additionally, they can provide a break from traditional academic subjects and make school more engaging and enjoyable for students.
Donnie Hero, Powell Middle School band director, offers creative electives for his students such as the Steel Drum Band. The band is made up of sixth, seventh and eighth graders who meet twice a week in the morning before school starts. The students perform many types of music from soca to current pop hits. “The students did not have any experience before starting steel drums with me,” says Hero.
I was delighted to see the Powell Middle Steel Drum Band playing at the Rossini Festival. Hero said, “They really enjoyed performing (there) and several students said it was the largest crowd they had ever played for.” The students usually play concerts at school and Powell feeder elementary schools, as well as at the City-County building, and now they have a taste of the festival life. I look forward to see where these talented youngsters show up next!
All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to [email protected]