Darren Doyle, story:
South Edmonson Elementary school has been awarded a $12,000 grant by the Steele-Reese Foundation to support its music program.
The grant will pay for a new sound system, a Quaver music license, and 35 ukuleles for student use. The award was made during the 2018 funding cycle.
Student performances at South Edmonson have been hampered in recent years by old sound equipment that malfunctioned. In addition, SEES Music and Art Instructor Mrs. Jessica Doyle, who submitted one of 74 proposals submitted during the 2018 funding cycle, wanted to introduce a new music curriculum for K-4 students that would make learning music fun and interactive. Many music instructors use ukuleles as a way to introduce students to a stringed musical instrument.
The outdated sound system was first installed when the school was constructed almost 20 years ago. Some improvements were made to the system 4-5 years ago, but a limited budget only allowed a "band-aid" fix at best.
"This was a long process that started after I attended a grant writing workshop at the Kentucky Music Educators Association back in February," said Mr. Doyle. "I'm so grateful to our principal, Mr. Josh Long, for allowing me to attend this professional development opportunity, and that our Board of Education approved it. I think they would certainly agree it was well worth the expense now."
The Steele-Reese Foundation is a charitable trust committed to supporting rural communities and the tax-exempt entities that serve them in Idaho, Montana, in the Native nations that share the geography, and in Appalachian Kentucky.
The South Edmonson proposal was one out of only 29 funded across Appalachian Kentucky.
Since its inception, the Foundation has maintained a focus on the unique challenges of rural living and on helping people build healthy, successful, and sustainable communities.
Eleanor Steele Reese, daughter of Charles Steele – a banker, lawyer, and business associate of J.P. Morgan – created The Steele-Reese Foundation in 1955. The Foundation's name honors Eleanor's family as well as the family of her husband, Emmet Reese, who grew up in the Appalachian foothills community of East Bernstadt, Kentucky.
"We can't wait to get our sound system updated," Mrs. Doyle added. "This is an amazing opportunity for our school to get a much-needed upgrade that we otherwise would never be able to afford. I am excited about our upcoming programs, where hopefully, we'll not have to worry about a malfunction in our sound system anymore."
Under the new direction of Mrs. Doyle, South Edmonson now has a newly formed choir, which is made up of more than 40 third and fourth grade students. Several new musical projects are currently in the works.