DETROIT – A Detroit school band is raising money for a trip where they will perform at an HBCU.
The Mighty Rockets Drumline of George Crocket Academy is working to send students to perform at a homecoming celebration in Praire, Texas.
“I’m one of two captains on the drumline, and I’m the section leader of the bass drum,” said Delonta Jackson.
Jackson is an 8th-grader at George Crockett Academy, and he’s one of 29 students that make up the Marching Mighty Rockets, a group on the city’s west side. The group is practicing for their performance at Prairie View A&M University In Texas, which is 30 miles outside of Houston.
“It’s exciting,” Jackson said. “We’re waiting.”
Jackson will be joined by 7th-grade dancer Kylee Jenkins, who loves everything about being on the field.
“It’s fun,” said Jenkins. “Very fun because I’m with a lot of people that’s like my family.”
Heading that family is percussion instructor and Detroit native Malik Jackson, who made the connection as a former student at the historically Black university.
“I believe it’s the largest historically black college in the state of Texas and, not mistaken, the oldest public institution,” said Malik Jackson.
It’s clear the group has the talent, but the trip is also being used to open their eyes to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“I know a lot of people know the background of the Historically Black College,” Malik Jackson said. “It was where our ancestors weren’t allowed to go to those predominantly white institutions. So it makes it so special. I have a lot of these kids. They’re so eager to learn about history.”
However, getting to Texas with a group of nearly 30 kids and other chaperones on a bus will not be cheap. The band has raised $5,827, but they need to raise another $20,000 to go.
“We are at a charter school where we don’t get the same funding as most public schools,” Malik Jackson said. “So for us, everything that we choose to do, we have to fundraise for. They are doing as best as they can to raise the funds on their end, but we still need some help. Community leaders, anybody.”
Aside from trips, the program is a way to keep these students occupied. Band parent of three students, Lashaundre Yelder, can attest to that.
“They’re here after school,” said Yelder. “They’re here on Saturdays before performances, you know, just to get a kid somewhere else to go besides just being on the internet or at home or on games.”
Malik Jackson wants the trip to be seen as more of an investment in the children’s future.
“Should no parent have to pay for them to go to college,” Malik Jackson said. “Music provided this same opportunity for me and it can be for them too. These babies deserve opportunities.”
The performance is on Oct. 29. The Mighty Rockets leave on Oct. 26. However, the group still needs the money.
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