I’ll Fly Away Foun­da­tion Sur­prises Chil­dren

McDonald County Press - - SCHOOL/SPORTS - Rick Peck

For Noel El­e­men­tary and Ju­nior High School, the tim­ing couldn’t have been more per­fect. A do­na­tion of a used pi­ano from Whit­ten­burg Church filled a need at the school that Prin­ci­pal LaDonna McClain said she was look­ing at do­ing some­thing about.

“This was greatly needed in our build­ing,” McClain said. “We didn’t have a pi­ano. We have a lot of con­certs and pro­grams, and this is some­thing we have been look­ing at for quite a while. We are very ap­pre­cia­tive to Whit­ten­burg Church for the do­na­tion and for the I’ll Fly Away pro­gram for get­ting us to­gether. It will be put to good use.”

The church ap­proached the I’ll Fly Away Foun­da­tion about two ex­tra pianos the church was want­ing to find good homes for. Since the foun­da­tion is in­volved with the McDonald County School Dis­trict through its song­writ­ing classes, the foun­da­tion knew just the right place for the pianos to land.

Cathy Lit­tle, the mu­sic teacher at the Noel school, could hardly con­tain her ex­cite­ment when the pi­ano was de­liv­ered on Nov. 27, which was fit­tingly the Na­tional Day of Giv­ing.

“I am very ap­pre­cia­tive of get­ting a pi­ano,” Lit­tle said. “We des­per­ately needed a pi­ano and it is go­ing to be a ma­jor help to us here at Noel El­e­men­tary School. I want to thank the Whit­ten­burg Church and the I’ll Fly Away Foun­da­tion so much. I am very grate­ful for their gen­eros­ity.”

In ad­di­tion to the pi­ano be­ing do­nated to the Noel school, a sec­ond pi­ano was gifted to South­west City El­e­men­tary and Ju­nior High School.

Even though the school al­ready has a pi­ano, mu­sic teacher Steph Wilk­er­son said the ad­di­tional pi­ano was still needed.

“I am so ex­cited about this new pi­ano,” Wilk­er­son said. “I’ll be able to use the pi­ano to teach the mu­sic classes all the way from kinder­garten through eighth grade. I want to thank Whit­ten­burg Church and the I’ll Fly Away Foun­da­tion for their gen­er­ous do­na­tion of a such a great gift.”

Sarah Mess­ley, prin­ci­pal at South­west City, said she is so ap­pre­cia­tive of how well and often the com­mu­nity sup­ports the school.

“They are al­ways so proac­tive in find­ing ways to be a bless­ing to us,” Mess­ley said. “I just want ev­ery­one to know how ap­pre­cia­tive we are of that and how much we en­joy hav­ing the com­mu­nity be­ing such a big part of our school be­cause we want to be part of the com­mu­nity.”

Church mem­ber Shel­ley Jassen said the church had two ex­tra pianos and needed to find a place where they would be used and taken care of.

“We thought of what a bet­ter way to see if our area schools needed them,” Jassen said. “I got in con­tact with Betsy (Brum­ley of the I’ll Fly Away Foun­da­tion) be­cause I knew she would know who to con­tact at the school.”

Brum­ley said, when Jessen con­tacted her, she knew right away of a cou­ple of schools that could put the pianos to good use.

“What bet­ter way to sup­port our lo­cal kids than by giv­ing them mu­si­cal in­stru­ments,” Brum­ley said. “It goes along with the foun­da­tion’s mis­sion of im­prov­ing chil­dren’s lives through mu­sic.”

RICK PECK/SPE­CIAL TO MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS

Mu­sic stu­dents at Noel El­e­men­tary and Ju­nior High School sur­round their new pi­ano af­ter a do­na­tion from Whit­ten­burg Church and the I’ll Fly Away Foun­da­tion. From left to right are Kevin Bernier (I’ll Fly Away Foun­da­tion), Shel­ley Jessen (Whit­ten­burg Church), Cathy Lit­tle (mu­sic teacher at Noel), Betsy Brum­ley (I’ll Fly Away Foun­da­tion) and LaDonna McClain (prin­ci­pal at Noel).

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