Middle school arts program in Panama City Beach receives big boost

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Surfside Middle School in Panama City Beach will be playing happy tunes this fall.

The St. Joe Community foundation provided a $50,000 grant to the school. The nonprofit says its mission is to enrich the quality of life for the people of Northwest Florida.

The funds will be used for the fine arts program, replacing things like lights, speakers, and soundboards. Thanks to the investment, students will have the opportunity to learn using industry-standard modern equipment.

“You know over time things need to be replaced and upgraded and so that’s what we’re looking to do,” James Colvin, band director at Surfside Middle School said.

Surfside principal Matt Pitts took the lead on the project and helped secure the grant from the nonprofit.

“I told him what we needed and the approximate cost and about two weeks ago we got a letter saying that had been approved,” Colvin said.

Students will now benefit from more polished and immersive shows.

“We can have some of our band concerts in here with staging and upgraded audio, and of course Mr. Mullins with an upgraded theatre program to do everything in here as well,” said Colvin. “If [only] you could hear things now, and see things when we do a production, and what it’ll be like afterward.”

Teachers hope to see continued investment in the arts. They say that things like music allow students to uniquely express everything they learn in other classes, while also tapping into their creativity.

Upgrades to the program will be underway soon as experts visit the school to identify specific areas for improvement.

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