Congratulations to the Garretson School District and their supporters. The efforts to improve the music program at the school earn high marks.

Although falling short of the top prize of $25,000, K-12 Vocal Music Teacher Kelby Robinson will savor the $5,000 reward earned through the Bridgestone Fuel the Cause neighborhood transformation contest. She offers a hearty thanks to all who threw their support behind the program.

Finishing first was a group from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, followed by Escanaba, Michigan's entry which netted $15,000 and the $10,000 winner from Thayer, Kansas in third. Garretson took fourth place overall.

To refresh your memory, below is an excerpt from an article originally published on April 20, 2015:

Designed to foster positive change in local communities, the Fuel the Cause contest seeks to identify educational, environmental, safety and other community-based initiatives that would benefit from a transformation funded by Bridgestone. Robinson submitted her application in order to support the music department in the Garretson School District.

In the application she states: If selected for this grant various instruments will be purchased including Orff mallet instruments, a set of drums for world drumming, ukuleles, and unpitched percussion instruments as well as adequate storage to protect these instruments so they can be used for many years to come. I would also invest in technology including iPads to use for composition activities and listening centers, a voice amplification system for the classroom, and a digital recording device. Additional funds would be put toward the purchase of music for the choir and the elementary students. Classroom instruments and technology provide hands-on, engaging lessons for students of all ages. Digital recording devices would allow for recording audition tracks for student’s college scholarship auditions, and festival entries. Recording students during rehearsals would also allow for students to listen and self-critique their performance, and also allow students to record themselves playing classroom instruments such as recorders on their own during class. I could then go back and listen to their tracks after class for assessment purposes and to provide more individualized instruction.

With a super majority of the students in Garretson participating in music, Robinson feels the benefits to the community through music would manifest to great degree. “I hope that this would provide these students with opportunities that they would have never had otherwise. Music teaches social skills, teamwork, perseverance, responsibility and it also crosses social, cultural and economic boundaries.”