It was total Gleek mania Friday morning at as the kids from the school’s Panthers Partners After School Theatre Arts Program were presented with a check for $10,000 by two cast members from the hit Fox television series, Glee.
The students were all participants in the Give A Note campaign, created to bring attention to the importance of music education in schools and to help provide funding to school music programs in need.
Culver City Middle School’s $10,000 check was just part of a $1 million giveaway funded through sales of the Glee DVDs – $1 of each DVD sold went toward the $1,000,000.
Eligible schools were invited to submit videos about why their school needed a music education grant. After a public voting period, videos were evaluated by teams of National Association for Music Education music educators. CCMS’ video earned more than 15,000 votes – the nation’s highest vote count for a middle school. (Click on the video to the right to see the CCMS submission.)
Culver City Unified School District Superintendent Patricia Jaffee attended the ceremony as did newly-installed school board member Nancy Goldberg and Councilmember Andrew Weissman.
As the prized group of CCMS theatre students were ushered into a cordoned off area of the playground, they had no idea who would turn up to present them with the funds, but they didn’t seem to care.
“I’d love it if it was Mercedes or Santana,” said 13-year-old Alexis Andrew, referring to the characters played by Amber Riley and Naya Rivera on the show. "I think I'd die," her 13-year-old friend Jenae Singh said.
The kids kept themselves entertained as they waited for their surprise guests, singing and dancing to playbacks of Glee recordings that were being blasted over loudspeakers. Emily Katz, 12, came prepared with a Glee calendar that she hoped the cast members would sign. Flora Namala, 12, even managed to get some algebra homework done while she waited.
After a few words from Principal Jon Pearson, it was Dot Marie Jones (Coach Beiste) and Jayma Mays (Emma Pillsbury) who entered the playground and presented the school with an oversized check, and the kids squealed in delight. In fact, even when Chris Bess, the representative from 20th Century Fox jokingly told them no cast members were coming, the kids nonetheless screamed, “We love you!”
After the confetti had rained down, the kids scrambled to hold the check high above their heads and have their photos snapped with Jones and Mays. While the students seemed happy to spend the rest of the afternoon with the Glee actors, Principal Pearson soon dispersed the students, reminding them they only had 10 minutes before classes resumed.