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Community raises money for Fairley High School band after equipment is stolen and vandalized

“For someone to care about me like they do, it feels like they’re second parents,” said Jaylon Avant, Fairley High School Band senior.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — All month long, we're celebrating Memphis. in December, it's all about gifts; both those given and shared. We stopped by Fairley High School where the spirit of giving came from perseverance, and keeps going.

“Hard work pays off,” said Kayla Crawford, Fairley High School senior. 

It also pays it forward.

Crawford and Jaylon Avant are members of the Fairley Power Source Band. 

“Band taught me discipline,” said Avant.

“It taught me how to take in new opportunities…not be focused on one mindset but be focused on anything can happen at any time,” said Crawford.

During COVID-19, thieves stole and vandalized much of the band's equipment. 

“There’s a lot of stuff I can’t do because I don’t have the resources or it’s missing complete pieces, or you open the case and there’s no instrument in there at all,” said Michael Cowans, Fairley High School Director of Bands.

“You didn’t get to play. You didn’t get to have those concerts,” said Crawford.

The band went from fully functioning to barely getting a small ensemble together. 

“It actually brought tears to my eyes because I know what we had,” said Cowans.

The community understands too. They began donating to rebuild the program. Mississippi Valley and Lane College offered full scholarships to the band seniors. 

“The band program is more so instrumental to the entire community not just here at Fairley High School. This band program has been responsible for putting out teachers, accountants… from this neighborhood that a lot of people tend to write off,” said Cowans.

“I’m glad they get the opportunity to be exposed to stuff like this. Hopefully, it’ll help them like it helped me,” said Cinnamon Saulsberry, Instructional Aid and former band member.

It is help that all stems from hard work. 

“For someone to care about me like they do, it feels like they’re second parents,” said Avant.

“They care about how we feel. That turned into I’ve got to do something for myself,” said Crawford.

Avant received a full scholarship from at least three different colleges. Crawford received more than $400,000 in scholarships.

The goal for new band equipment has not stopped. If you would like to support, click here.

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