On Sept. 24, Vans presented Cass Technical High School’s music department with a check for $10,000 and instruments for the orchestra department valued at $10,000. Cass along with five other Detroit Public Schools received money to help subsidize the music curriculum of their respective schools.
In the spring of 2019, Cass Tech’s strings teacher Deanna Burrows received an email from Andrew Miguiee, the assistant director of the fine and performing arts in DetroitPublic Schools, urging Burrows to apply for the grant Vans Gives a Band.
“So I did,” she said. “I applied for the grant. It was a very easy process to apply for, then I didn’t think another thing about it.”
About two days before school started this year she received an email from Vans saying that she had received the grant.
Burrows has been teaching in the district for 26 years. She has about 120 students this year and has taught at all grade levels K-12. She is very committed and passionate about her students.
Burrows said the $10,000 grant will be used for travel expenses for the orchestra as well as other educational opportunities that will expand students’ knowledge and overall musical performance that otherwise would not be possible without the grant.
About 75% of students in the advanced orchestra have their own instruments. However, students in the intermediate orchestra don't have their own instruments.
“When I heard the news about us receiving instruments I got excited,” sophomore Ayodule Uhuru said. It is a really big deal because to play an instrument you need to be able to practice at home and at school.”
The majority of the new instruments will be divided among Burrows advanced and intermediate classes.
Burrows and her students are extremely grateful to have received this grant. They have worked on planning trips that will further their musical education. Many students are looking at this grant as a way to give them more opportunities that could not be accomplished in the past due to lack of funds and instruments.