School: Alta Vista Elementary
Do you believe in the power of music?
Thomas Aron does.
The band, strings and steel drums teacher at Alta Vista Elementary School trusts that music class can do something that no other subject can do.
“The goal is to create a well-rounded student,” said Aron. “There is no other class on campus where the kids are going to apply all the core subjects together to create an enjoyable experience.”
Aron has spent his entire career as a music teacher, including the last nine years at Alta Vista. He testifies that through music, students will learn a foreign language, apply math and reading skills and be afforded the opportunity to express themselves.
“We support all the learning that is going on in other classes and reinforce it,” said Aron. “The other subjects are applied in music and are enhanced because they are drawing upon these subjects without even knowing.”
So when Aron was awarded $5,000 through Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers last fall, he knew the impact would go far beyond his classroom.
“I mean $5,000, are you kidding?” exclaimed Aron. “That money went a long way. I was able to use it for the entire school.”
After receiving his grant, Aron bought equipment and instruments for the whole music program and a lot of the materials he purchased wouldn’t have been possible without the Fiesta Bowl Charities grant.
“We are an inner-city school so we don’t get much,” said Aron. “Cellos alone can cost between $800-$900 and I was able to buy two. Typically, that’s not something a school will pay for.”
As a result, nearly 600 students were impacted by the money, something principal Cody Riding, like Aron, believes can go a long way to enhance a student’s education.
“Every student learns differently,” said Riding. “When we are able to figure out ways to get students excited about school through music then it will improve their learning in other areas too.”
With the new music equipment, Aron and the other Alta Vista music teachers have been able to touch more and more students through the power of music and now have equipment that elementary schools typically don’t budget for.
“Students are excited to participate in music and now they all can,” explained Riding. “We are a lower-income school and there are a lot of students who can’t afford their own instruments. Now have some here that we are able loan out.”
Last fall, Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program assisted many teachers, principals and schools like Aron, Riding and Alta Vista to award 100 teachers grants of $5,000 each.
“The Fiesta Bowl is something people are familiar with because it is a huge sporting event in our own backyard,” said Riding. “What people don’t realize is that this organization can make a difference throughout your life. That is why sport organizations are so important.”
Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers, in partnership with azcentral, is back for a second year and is accepting applications from teachers through November 3. This year, the program has launched a text-to-donate campaign and Fiesta Bowl Charities will match up to $500,000 in contributions. To donate to the Wishes for Teachers program, text ‘TEACHERS’ to 51555 or use the online donation form.
“It is a wonderful program and I would recommend it to every teacher,” said Aron. “The Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers is a great thing and shows that there are people out there that want to help because like us, they understand that it is all about the kids.”
David, 12, a student in Aron’s class would have to agree.
“My favorite piece of equipment are the new drum mallets,” said David. “Getting all new equipment was so cool and Mr. Aron is a great teacher.”