In honor of Harmony Program’s 10th Anniversary, we invited all of our elementary and middle school students to participate in an essay contest. One overall grand prize winner and two 2nd prize winners — in the elementary and middle school categories — were selected from among the 24 essays submitted by a panel of Harmony Program Board members.
Here at the Harmony Program, we believe that all children should have access to music education. We tell the stories of how our students grow through music — socially, developmentally, and academically — and it was a powerful testament to hear our students tell their stories in their own words. We were delighted to read all of the thoughtful responses, where students expressed what the world would look like if everyone had access to Harmony Program, and how participating in the program has helped them overcome challenges.
Violinist Joe Mendoza from Castle Bridge School said that “the Harmony Program would be able to teach all the kids in the world that anything is possible if you try.”
Second-prize winner Jhazlyn Troncoso-Hiraldo, a violinist at Castle Bridge School, had this to say:
“For the past five years, I have been bullied for being myself. Harmony has pushed me in ways I didn’t think were possible. Not only has my music skills gotten better but everyone including Ms. Gizem accepts me for who I am. I didn’t have to change who I was because they showed me the true meaning of respect, love and friendship.”
Other participants expressed that being at Harmony Program has taught them useful skills that they can apply outside of school. Bass student Ryan Hau, who attends Harmony Program Youth Orchestra, expressed that “during orchestra [Harmony teachers] Ms.Kelly and Mr. Larry tell us to always listen to everyone before we play. When we communicate better, we should listen with our hearts.” Ryan feels that he is now a better listener at home when communicating with his family.
We are grateful to our students for expressing themselves so honestly and openly in their essays. We also want to express our gratitude to our teachers and all of our community supporters.
“The world would be an amazing place if every child had a chance to participate in the Harmony Program. Kids would be more creative, kind, intelligent, and peaceful by discovering what they love and putting their hearts into it. We can
work together to help the world. Even if we don’t see it with our bare eyes, we can feel it in our hearts,” wrote 1st Prize Winner, Victoria Wheby.
Together, we are building a better future.