Teasley Middle School's band program has entered a contest to win $20,000 in instruments through the Yamaha Quest for Music Education.
The band program, which has grown to 250 students in the last two years under the direction of Sean Furilla, currently needs 30 instruments, which each cost between $1,000 and $5,000.
The growth of the program has resulted in Teasley students sharing instruments, meaning they all cannot take instruments home to practice daily.
"I have seen so many layers of success stories," Furilla said of his 15 years in teaching. "Music education makes an enormous positive shift in student self-confidence and respect to others. I have the chance to affect grades and behavior in all of their classes because of the bond that I create with my students year after year."
Votes can be cast online through Nov. 15: https://www.yamaha.com/ussub/qmes/participate.html?scode=Esw8. Teasley Middle currently is in third place in the national competition.
"In my class, holding those instruments, every student has the chance to be equal," the band director added. "It's an environment where the varying levels of economic diversity vanish. Band is a place that wipes away all boundaries and anything is possible. The rich and poor labels disappear, and the world of possibility explodes."
Teasley is a Title I school, meaning it has a higher percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch.
To vote, visit https://www.yamaha.com/ussub/qmes/participate.html?scode=Esw8; register your name and information; click the purple QUEST icon on the right; each completed QUEST counts as a vote for Teasley.