16th Annual SBO Scholarship Winners Essays

Mike Lawson • • July 13, 2016

Share This:

SBO’s Scholarship Essay Contest: Celebrating sixteen years, 80,000 entries, and $320,000 in awards!

“Learning Music Is More Than A Class At School, It Also…” was the theme of SBO’s 16th annual scholarship essay contest. Several thousand entries were submitted as students competed for ten scholarships each worth $1000.00. The awards were given to five students grades 4 to 8 and five students grades 9 to 12. Their respective school music programs received a matching award of music products from co-sponsors NAMM, Alfred Music Publishing, EPN Travel Services, Sabian Ltd., Woodwind & Brasswind, and Yamaha Corporation of America.

Since its inception the scholarship program has awarded $320,000 in funds and matching music products to the winners and their schools. Two students from the state of Florida were winners. Other states represented include California, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. The music students received their scholarship awards from local music dealers representing NAMM (National Association of Music Manufacturers), who is a major co-sponsor of the program. Participating music dealers included Island Music, Merritt Island, FL.; Bringe Music, St. Petersburg, FL.; Mississippi Music, Hattiesburg, MS.; Tulsa Band, Tulsa OK and Murphy’s Music Center, Irving, TX. Music and Arts stores located in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Jonesboro, GA, Lutherville-Timonium, MD, Wellford SC and Williamsburg, VA were also represented.

And the winners are…

Grades 4-8

Charla Gentry

Grade 8 • Age 13

Meredith Pendley, Music Director

D.R. Hill Middle School


Learning music is more than a class at school. It is also a way of exploring a variety of cultures and expressions that you may or may not have experienced before. Learning music is like a time machine; it has the power to take you to any place in any time period you desire. You can find yourself in a Spanish mariachi or a classical quartet in a flip of a page. You can learn so much about history without even cracking a book. Music is the international language – it grants a way of communication that is known by all people. It expresses emotions through symbols such as a crescendo that can change by the slight flick of a wrist. A delicate word such as allegro could change your imagery from a calm moonlit boat ride to a heart thumping suspenseful adventure. Music is able to touch and inspire many people to do amazing thing in life. It is also able to break through barriers such as disabilities. Great people, such as Beethoven, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder, have overcame their disabilities for the love of music. Music is inspiration. Learning music is powerful, and by knowing how to read and play music, you have the power to change emotions and lift sprits with your talent. You have a superpower. Music never grows old – it adapts to its surroundings. As you grow, it grows with you. Music is a lot of things, but to sum it up, music is infinite.


Gayda Mohamed

Grade 7 • Age 13

Justin Thomas, Music Director

Sam Houston Middle School


Learning music is more than a class at school, it is a very important tool.

It teaches you passion and sorrow; it prepares you for the world of tomorrow.

Music touches your soul, and makes you whole.

Instruments are keys to the heart and notes are the veins that feed the art.

Music is life, music is strong, with music; you can never go wrong.

I play the oboe not because I want to be a star; but because I know it will take me very far.

I don’t play because it’s my duty, but because I want to learn to recognize beauty.

Building your future with each chance you take, living a dream, from which you cannot wake.

Music is something no one can take away, it’s the highlight to my day, when I can just sit and play, my oboe I would never betray, that is why I’m writing this essay.

I’ll say this in a simple way; Music will always stay.


Cindy Jia

Grade 8 • Age 13

Susan Wilson, Music Director

Ridgely Middle School


Learning music is more than staring at ink on a page. Learning music is learning to express yourself, letting your emotions flow in ways that your words cannot. It teaches you cooperation and how to work with large groups of many people. It makes you interact with others like you. Music opens your eyes and exposes you to a new way of seeing the world. Music teaches you to work hard, to practice, to put all of your effort into your work, and to let your feelings guide the notes out of your instrument. You learn how to excel in life, even if it does not include playing an instrument, or making a sound. You learn to work with your peers and equals, to work the hardest you can to achieve your goal, and to let out all that you feel in a way that pleases all that can hear it. Music teaches you to do the best that you can, to be the best that you can be, and to be the most effective and efficient that you could ever become. Guiding you in life, teaching you to lead and follow and to work together, all at once, that is what music is. Music is incredible. Only with the hard work and cooperation of everyone can such a pleasing sound be emitted and witnessed by those lucky enough to be there. Music is more than a class at school. It also teaches you how to become the best person possible.


Jayvyn Price

Grade 7 • Age 12

Heather Coleman, Music Director

Mundy’s Mill Middle School



My name is Jayvyn Price. I am in the seventh grade and I play the viola for Mundy’s Mill School Orchestra. To fully understand why learning music is more than a class at school, I began to think what music would say if it could speak. I believe music would say I am a creator. I travel into the imagination of humans or the deeper parts of their souls and I give them the ability to create notes that sometimes words cannot express alone. I am a comforter. I can go beyond a mother’s touch and soothe the tears of a crying baby. I am hope. When the world is faced with trouble, I can provide a way of escape by reflecting on good times and encouraging one to never give up. I am a teacher. I teach to respect the uniqueness of others and break the walls of cultural division. Although it puzzles the minds of many, I am a healer. I have the ability to turn a bad mood into a good mood and to renew the mind and refresh the body. I am also limited. Without you, there is no me. I am more than a class at school. I am You.


Christine Trieu

Grade 8 • Age 13

Jonathan Peske, Music Director

Summit Intermediate School

Learning music is more than a class at school, it also gives students an important lesson in working through difficult obstacles that they could use for the rest of their lives. With disciplined practice and cooperation with others, music class teaches essential school and work practices. The hours spent learning sheet music helps to teach the satisfying result of hard work and perseverance. In addition, it shows students how to manage their time and schedule to fit in necessary practice sessions. Being in a collective band develops collaboration in social and communication aspects. It also educates with the rewarding outcome of working together with others. By learning music in a school’s class, it trains students to work towards new skills and determined goals. In the life of an adult, all of the lessons learned in a school’s music class can be found in the workplace. Working hard towards goals, cooperating with others, and time management are important in all aspects of life. Seeing through to results of a progressive project, like music class, can inspire students to be determined to work hard, now and in the future. These benefits of learning music, among many others, can be applied to many parts of life, including school, college, and work.


Grades 9-12

Rand Perry

Grade 10 • Age 15

Cara Townsend, Music Director

Bruton High School



Learning music impacts my life far beyond the classroom. In addition to developing character traits such as patience, punctuality, attention to detail, and the importance of hard work, our band class is a family. No one can tell our individual backgrounds just by listening to us. Music helps us work together towards a common goal, and become better people by doing so. Playing different styles of music exposes us to different time periods and cultures of the world. When we discuss the stories behind our pieces, we expand our worldviews and gain deeper understanding of the past and present. We notice more in our daily lives. Music classes also provide a structural authority that promotes teamwork. Whether you’re a section leader, librarian, or an equipment manager, you learn to work with others, even when they’re difficult. Even if you aren’t in a leadership position, you still learn to engage in meaningful dialogue with those in charge to ensure smooth operations. Learning music also teaches me to weather the ups and downs of life. I won’t always make First Chair, my section won’t always win a marching Drill-Off, and our band won’t always win our competitions. Through both victories and losses, music has enabled me to reflect on my musical and personal performance and improve with each passing day. The positive benefits of music transcend the classroom, filling every aspect of life. Music has made me and those with whom I play better people.


Logan Robertson

Grade 12 • Age 18

Rod Mackey, Music Director

Collinsville High School Learning







Music Is More Than A Class At School. It also is a time for

T- Taking band trips. Going to marching contests has provided me with a lifetime of memorable band moments. The adrenaline rush is like no other as we warm up, set the stage, and then perform our show.

E -Entertainment. Who doesn’t love to see an audience smile, laugh, hum, tap and clap?

A-Amazing tan lines from marching band practice in hundred degree temperatures.

M- Mozart to Mannheim Steamroller, adagio to allegro, pianissimo to fortissimo…variety is not only the spice of life but makes for a fun band class.

W- Work ethic. We are the Energizer Bunny of our high school. Our marching band practices early mornings, late in the evenings, weekends, and in all kinds of weather. We keep going, and going, and going…

O- Opportunity to participate in a group activity for the good of the group. There is little toom for individual glory during marching season. Our shows are truly a team effort.

R- Repetition, repetition, repetition. “One more time” is heard many times during a practice. Our directors are such a tease!

K- Knowing I am a better musician, student and citizen for having participated in the band program. My musical experiences are indelibly imprinted on my life. I have earned my membership in an elite family because once a musician, always a musician.


Gianna Santucci

Grade 12 • Age 18

Benjamin Gerrard, Music Director

Merritt Island High School


Learning music is a life experience. It’s a commitment, a measure of your dedication, your hard work, as well as a source of cultural enrichment and intellectual stimulation. Participating in music classes in school has ingrained in me leadership qualities that I wouldn’t have gained otherwise in other classes. Band is a family, percussion even more so, and we rely on each other to learn and contribute to the music in an experience that is so much more than a pastime. I’ve spent years now encouraging others to grow musically, organizing last minute rehearsals, and directing others in ways that have enhanced my leadership abilities. Keeping up with the music and the musicians around me has sharpened my ability to process information, and taught me how to multitask, because there’s a difference between playing the notes on a paper, and playing them musically. The commitment learning music in school requires is beyond the scope of any other class offered in school. Rehearsals extend into late nights, several times a week, in order to create something beautiful that everyone involved is passionate about. People choose to learn how to play music. They don’t choose to sit in a math class. In music classes you find a passion unlike any other, as everyone is filled with the same desire to create.Learning how to play music is also learning how to enjoy life through that passion, and the knowledge that you have a skill to pursue that many others do not.


Chelsea Kendyl Schol

Grade 12 • Age 17

Joel Quina, Music Director

J W Mitchell High School



Learning music is so much more than a class at school. It is more than notes on a page, a simple melody, or a mathematical set of chords. My seven years of playing oboe and flute on the football field, in wind ensemble, and in pit orchestra have taught me lessons that I know I will keep with me throughout my entire life. Music has taught me confidence and pride, both in marching on the football field and performing on a stage. Since being involved in music, I have come to terms with a personal life motto- if Iâ€TMm not proud of my product, why am I doing it? Countless performances and auditions have instilled confidence in me that I never believed I could have, and that confidence is made more special by knowing that it came from hours upon hours of effort and passion. Passion. True passion is a concept that not everyone in this world gets to say that they have experienced. Passion is, by definition, a strong and barely controllable emotion, or an intense desire or enthusiasm. That is what music is to me. Making music is a euphoric feeling, even if it isn’t in front of a crowd. I am lucky enough to have found confidence, pride and true passion in my art. Learning music is so much more than a class at school. It is an experience that is one of a kind, and that I will treasure for the rest of my life.


Haley Beth Williams

Grade 12 • Age 16

Brad Brand, Music Director

Park Place Christian Academy



M-Mind; U-Universal; S-Success; I-Inspiration; C-Confidence

Music is food for the soul. Unfortunately, many schools lose funds for music programs as school districts shrink budgets. The praise band that I play guitar and drums for is more than just a leadership class meeting each day. We lead chapel once a week and are not funded by our school.

· M – Mind and intellectual development are shaped through music as musicians rely upon memory recall to play songs. Through music spatial-temporal reasoning can develop. This is why math teachers say, those who learn music do better in math because they develop problem solving skills.

· U – Universal describes music as a thread that intertwines the global society. Through music, we can communicate across cultural and language boundaries, bridging gaps and connecting with others.

· S – Success comes from learning to play an instrument. Music improves school and community making successful citizens. There is a sense of achievement, improved self-esteem and self- confidence.

· I – Inspiration, imagination and joy are experienced when playing music. The desire to always improve and work as a team while playing in a band can extend over into all school subjects.

· C – Confidence is a key factor that grows as someone gets up in front of people and performs. Some people are just naturally confident while others have to get there. Music allows for creative expression and improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills to a greater extent than other activities including sports. Hand-eye coordination is also enhanced, something I have noticed with learning to play the guitar and drums.


The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!
Optimized by Optimole