2006-12-14 / Youth

Foundation gives $1,200 for music

BY DAN PARKER SOUTH JETTY REPORTER


            Music maker STAFF PHOTO BY DAN PARKER Gay de 
            Montel, art and music teacher at  
                       
                      
                       
                     
                     
                     
                         
              
  H.G. 
              
                       
                      
                       
                     
                     
                     
                         
              
  Olsen   
                       
                      
                       
                     
                     
                     
                         
             Elementary 
  School  
                       
                      
                       
                     
                     
                     
                         
              
  , celebrates 
            with fifth graders excited about a $1,200 grant recently awarded to 
            the school by the Port Aransas Education Foundation. The non-profit 
            foundation awarded the grant so that the school's nearly 40 fifth 
            graders can attend performance by the Corpus Christi Symphony 
            Orchestra at the Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M 
            University-Corpus Christi in January. Issued in response to an 
            application by de Montel, it was the first grant ever awarded by the 
            newly formed 
  foundation. Music maker STAFF PHOTO BY DAN PARKER Gay de Montel, art and music teacher at H.G. Olsen Elementary School , celebrates with fifth graders excited about a $1,200 grant recently awarded to the school by the Port Aransas Education Foundation. The non-profit foundation awarded the grant so that the school's nearly 40 fifth graders can attend performance by the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra at the Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in January. Issued in response to an application by de Montel, it was the first grant ever awarded by the newly formed foundation.Gay de Montel, the art and music teacher at H.G. Olsen Elementary School, had not planned to be in the school's gym on the morning of Friday, Dec. 8.

De Montel was in her classroom, getting ready to accompany a group of students on a trip to Falls City, where a UIL academic competition was to be held that day. But around 9 a.m., Principal Sylvia Buttler went to de Montel and said she needed help in the gym.

It was a ruse. De Montel walked into the gym, and then ... "SURPRISE!" yelled a few dozen fifth-grade students standing in one corner of the gym.

Wide-eyed, de Montel clasped one hand to her chest and said, "What's the surprise?" She had not yet fully focused on the several Port Aransas Education Foundation officials who were standing nearby, holding an oversized check for $1,200 made out to the H.G. Olsen Elementary School Music Department.

Janice Roberts, president of the foundation, stepped forward and announced the foundation had decided to provide the school's fifth graders - there are nearly 40 of them - with a field trip to hear the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra at the Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, on Saturday, Jan. 13.

"I'm so shocked!" de Montel said. "Thank you!"

A group of Port Aransans formed the non-profit Port Aransas Education Foundation earlier this year to seek community support for the Port Aransas Independent School District with enrichment programs and other support work not traditionally funded in school budgets.

The funding for the symphony field trip was the first grant ever to be handed out by the foundation. Foundation officials decided to award the grant based on an application de Montel made.

Roberts said foundation officials found the application worth funding partly because it would have an impact on all of the fifth graders in the school.

Also, she said, "It was what we felt would be a cultural experience that some of (the children) might never get to experience. ... Some of the kids don't even know what a symphony is."

De Montel said she was thrilled by the grant.

"I'm thrilled for the children," she said. "It's going to be a very worthwhile experience. There's nothing like a live symphony performance. And that concert hall (at TAMU-CC) is incredible."

De Montel said she is hoping to also take the students out to a fancy restaurant as part of the outing.

It will be "a white-table-cloth, dressup, put-your-napkin-in-your-lap" kind of experience that hopefully will teach the children something about etiquette, de Montel said.

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