For 13 years, Ms. Pagan, the music teacher at Amelia Earhart Elementary in Hialeah, FL, had all of the necessary training for her job, but couldn’t put it to use because her school didn’t have instruments or even a classroom. Without resources, Ms. Pagan would push around a cart filled with any supplies she could find. Now, thanks to Save The Music, Toyota, Publix, music industry supporters, and the district who transformed its old woodshop, Ms. Pagan has everything she needs to give her kids the music education they deserve.

Having a music program in this school means the world to my kids…They get to learn how to sing, dance, and perform on instruments that they would probably never see if it wasn’t for you guys giving us these instruments and providing this opportunity for us. This is just going to change their world. And I’m just so excited to get started. Thank you.

To celebrate, we gathered all of our partners to check out the brand-new music room, see the instruments that were donated as part of our Introduction to Music Grant, and hear the students play.

They kicked off the concert with a fitting performance of “Funga Alafia,” a West African welcome song. (Later on, the adults joined in on the drums and Orff instruments for an impromptu lesson!)

Tyler McBride, Toyota’s Engagement and Events Marketing Manager, talked about how Toyota’s slogan, “Let’s Go Places,” aligns with music education as it allows students to explore new opportunities and discover their full potential.

Nicole Krauss, Publix’s Media & Community Relations Manager, spoke about how Publix is focused on helping causes its customers are passionate about, and shared her close ties to the community as her mother was a former principal at Hialeah Senior High School. Dr. Verena Cabrera, currently the Region Administrative Director, responded that she was also a past principal at that school and worked at Publix as her first job. What a small world!

Music truly connects all of us. Thank you to Toyota and Publix for helping us restore the program at Amelia Earhart Elementary!