be_ixf;ym_202105 d_07; ct_50 Learn more about City Year’s response to COVID-19

Bringing students together, one Wednesday at a time

Music and mathematics are similar in many ways. Just to name a few, they both involve calculated responses, years of practice to master, and numerous objects and methods of solving the same “problems.” What may be the most important similarity between the two concepts is that they each act as a universal language. In many forms, these two concepts can cut across national, linguistic, and cultural barriers to amplify an idea and show it to the world for all to see and begin to understand. Well at South High School, while mathematics is being taught to all students each day between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., the universal language of music is being explored after school every Wednesday.

With artistic passion and social purpose at the center of their mission, the Harmony Project connects people across social divides through the arts, education, and volunteer community service. By working together, the Harmony Project is building a stronger, more inclusive community with a focus on developing a social infrastructure that unites the community for the common good.

When the students arrive each Wednesday, they are greeted by numerous adults who are there to watch them grow and succeed. Theyare also handed an exorbitant amount of Donato’s pizza. After settling in after their long days in class, the students are often encouraged to reflect on how they believe the outside world views them while also brainstorming ideas on how they want to show the outside world who they truly are. Through creating their own original songs, raps, and dances, the students are striving to teach the world that words like “poor”, “ghetto”, and “trash” are just negative stereotypes that motivate them to push forward. By working together and eventually performing their own original creations, the Harmony Project is helping students display that they cut across different divides and that they are actually “athletes”, “writers”, and scholars”.

Along with creating their own music, the Harmony Project exposes students to songs that have values and themes that specifically touch the South High community. From highlighting how Alicia Keys believes we ALL make an impact on this Earth, to exploring how the Greatest Showman proved that everyone should be proud of who they are in songs like “This is Me”, Harmony helps to motivate students to exceed the expectations that others have set for them.There is also plenty of fun to be had that does not involve such heavy topics! Students have learned how to beat box, sing and dance to popular songs, and interact with different instruments. My personal favorite memory was when I, along with a group of about ten students, participated in a drum circle, and I honestly believe the smile on my face was just as big as the ones on my middle schoolers’ right next to me. Not to mention, each spring break Harmony Project participants get to embark on a free trip to a fun city. In hopes to show them a new location, culture, and way of life, the Harmony Project allows students at South High to start looking beyond their own community and to learn about just some of the many possibilities that each and every one of them has available to them.

By participating in the Harmony Project, students are becoming closer within their own South High community while learning the skills and values necessary to one day succeed beyond their high school. By focusing on the arts, education, and volunteer community service, the Harmony Project is helping to bring a group of South High students closer together and closer to achieving their future goals one Wednesday at a time.

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