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The City Journals

$1,000 silver bullet for Silver Crest’s struggling music program

May 03, 2019 09:18AM ● By Jet Burnham

Students enjoy music class despite the limited amount of instruments. (Rinda Clyde/Silver Crest Elementary)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Rinda Clyde, Beverly Taylor Sorenson music specialist at Silver Crest Elementary in Herriman, had a brief encounter with Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen which ended in an additional $1,000 for her music program.

“I’ve been trying to be very creative with the way that I use the funds that I get,” said Rinda Clyde, whose $250 grant from RSL’s Scoring for Schools grant purchased four ukuleles for her music program.

When RSL visited Silver Crest to present the grants, Clyde was asked to coordinate fifth-graders for a last-minute ukulele performance for the assembly. At the conclusion, Hansen complimented Clyde’s efforts. In their short conversation, she thanked him for his grant that helped her get closer to her goal of having enough ukuleles for all the students in her class.

“He was warm and generous and genuine—I mean he was very genuine,” said Clyde. “He was just so kind and very approachable.”

She said Hansen told her that they were now close friends, so if she needed any more ukuleles, to let him know. She thought he was just saying that to be nice. However, the philanthropist, moved by their conversation, walked into Principal Ann Pessetto’s office to let her know he had enjoyed the musical performance and wanted to donate $1,000 to the music budget. 

“Before he left the building, he made sure they knew he was willing to help however he could,” said Clyde. “That just lifts your spirits in so many ways to realize that there are people out there that are willing to do those kinds of things.” 

Hansen’s daughter, Lara Huff, was not surprised to hear what her dad had done for Clyde. He has similarly surprised other teachers in recent months after hearing about their unique situations.

“He listens, and he cares,” said Huff. “He just hears and acts, period. He doesn’t want the praise or glory, he just wants to do what he’s passionate about.”

Clyde was glad Hansen listened to her and heard in their short interaction the difficulty she’s had starting a music program from scratch.

“It can take a lot of time to build up the materials necessary for a music program, and that’s what makes this all so special,” said Clyde. “We have such a need.” 

Her students learn drum rhythms on buckets borrowed from the district with drumsticks purchased with previous grant money. She has a long wish list of what she wants to buy with her bonus $1,000: Boomwhacker xylophones and real drums for older students, and rhythm instruments and ribbons for the younger.

“It will do a lot of good for my classroom,” said Clyde. “It won’t buy everything, but it will certainly give us a leg-up for the coming year.”

Clyde said it would have taken, at minimum, another year of applying for multiple grants to afford what Hansen’s gift will provide.

“It was just very heartwarming, and I’m just so grateful,” she said. “It just made me think—this is an amazing thing. If we reached out to more businesses, we may find more people like this. They may just not know how to do it.”

Clyde hopes others will be inspired by Hansen’s generosity.

“We are taxed for education and don’t really get to decide where our money is spent,” she said. “This is one way you can know for certain how you are helping and what your money is being used for.”

Jordan Education Fund, which partnered with RSL to purchase the items teachers requested with their grants, depends on support from local businesses and community members to honor and reward local teachers. JEF president Steven Hall said Market Street Grill employees recently pledged their tips for the month to present Jordan District’s Teachers of the Year with restaurant gift certificates.

“Other businesses can think of things to do to help,” said Hall. “Even $5 helps. It all helps.”