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WCSD Mariachi Music Program Grows With Help From Donors
by Tribune Staff
Oct 09, 2012 | 2505 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO -- The number of students enrolled in the Washoe County School District’s

mariachi pilot program has far surpassed expectations for the 2012-2013 school year, with 60 students

participating in the program at four schools. Thanks to generous donations from the community, the District

has been able to buy instruments for each student who is learning to play mariachi music.

Nearly 37 percent of WCSD students are Hispanic, and studies show that students who participate in

mariachi education programs have better attendance records, higher graduation rates, and a new sense of

confidence, self-esteem, and belonging at school. Participants are also more likely to become student

leaders and positive role models for their siblings and peers.

“We are so happy with the response we’ve received from students and families,” said David Branson,

music and fine arts coordinator for WCSD. “They’re enthusiastic about this program, and we are profoundly

grateful to the donors who helped make it possible.”

The Washoe County School District launched the mariachi pilot program in the spring of 2012 in

partnership with Artown and KNPB. Other generous donors have come forward to offer support, including

the City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission, Silver Legacy, and Hot August Nights. Other donors include

All Seasons Lawn and Landscaping, Q-doba Restaurants, AT&T, High Sierra Industries, Diversified

Builders, Inc., and Ron and Lavonne Brooks.

“The Hot August Nights Foundation is committed to supporting the futures of in-need and at-risk youth in

our community,” said Tony Marini, executive director of Hot August Nights. “Through the hard work and

efforts of Artown, the Hot August Nights Foundation is honored to be able to contribute by donating to the

mariachi music program.”

“As a native Latina from New Mexico where the Mariachi International Competition and Festival occurs

every year, I wanted to be part of championing the program,” said Lavonne Brooks. “I wanted to play a part

in bringing the art, music, and discipline of mariachi to our schools.”

Brooks and her husband, Ron, not only made a significant personal contribution but also solicited donations

from area business owners to help launch the mariachi pilot program.

“This program has been made possible by our community,” Branson said. “The people of Washoe County

have always supported our schools, and this is yet another example of that support that will change the

lives of our students for the better.”
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