The school band at Wilmington’s D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy is poised to gain about a hundred sixth- and seventh-grade musicians, thanks to a huge donation of instruments. Students, parents, school board members and local elected officials are gathering for a ceremony Friday in the school’s auditorium to witness the unveiling of each instrument, and thank donor Bob Moulton, owner of the Durham-based National Pawn store chain. And this is just one of many new opportunities available to students of the recently-reopened D. C. Virgo School.
The north-side downtown public school has come a long way since 2011, when it was shut down for low enrollment and low performance. Jana Jones Halls, executive director of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Prevention of Youth Violence, a nonprofit housed within the historically underserved school, says involvement in band or orchestra can be a key factor in positive youth development.
"It gives them something to really focus on and gives them an enriching activity to be able to be involved in, even outside of school. Our hope is that once they’re playing these instruments in school, that they’ll want to take this further."
Halls says D.C. Virgo—which now features yoga and martial arts classes, student uniforms and programming for parents covering community gardening and couponing--has been modeled after charter schools in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. She says that granting all 215 of its students the chance to play an instrument is a long-term goal.
The school is still accepting donations of band instruments that are in good shape. They can be dropped off at the front office of the school at 813 Nixon Street in Wilmington. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.