From Bullied to Thriving: The Power of Music

As a 6th grader, Luke was so bullied that he would comb his long, curly hair directly down in front of his face to try to hide.

He would get to school a half hour before any other student just to hide out in the music room. The music director told him that if he was going to be hanging out there he may as well practice. Although this student played saxophone, he started tinkering around with other instruments during his “hiding out” time and found that he loved the percussion instruments.

The music director invited Luke to join the special 7:00 am band class every morning since he was there anyway. He not only improved really quickly with all that practice, but he also he began to really love music. He soon gained enough confidence to pull his long curly hair from his face into a ponytail.

By high school, Luke was so proficient that he advanced quickly to the top band at Samohi. He joined the marching band drumline. He was invited into the most advanced orchestra and played in the pit orchestra at all the theater musicals. He went on performing tours and played in 9 different countries around the world. You know what else he did? He cut off all of his long hair; he didn’t need his security blanket anymore. Luke had found his school family.

Luke is in college now and thriving. Donations to the Ed Foundation made this possible. This student’s story is uniquely his own but his experience in the arts is like so many others in our Santa Monica schools. Arts programs, which are supported by donations to the Ed Foundation, ensure opportunities for all of our students to find their passions.