Seniors in the Mae Jemison High School Band were awarded over $660,000 in scholarships to go to college. All 15 seniors received a scholarship, "We're truly building a dynasty," said Band Director Reginald Pearson.
The scholarships came from colleges in Alabama. The students will be playing in those schools bands in the fall. Students WAAY 31 spoke with said without these scholarships they wouldn't be able to afford to go to college.
Senior Hector Cardozo's post high school plans would have changed without the skills he's acquired by playing in band, "I'd probably start work straight after high school. Start work in the trades," said Cardozo.
Percussionist Kaleb Core is the same way, "I wasn't really certain if I was gonna go to college," said Core.
Both students credit their teacher, Mr. Pearson, who took over as Band Director two years ago, "That's what really changed the whole level of the game is when he pushed me to do more things than what I could do three years ago," said Core.
Pearson takes no credit for his student's success. Instead, he praised their hard work and the skills being in band requires them to practice, "It's a little bit of social studies, it's a little bit of math and science as well and reading. I tell my students all the time; if you are in the band and can do all these things that band requires you're a genius," said Pearson.
Cardozo said they develop more skills than that, "You actually learn life skills. You learn discipline, you learn focus," said Cardozo.
The success of the 15 seniors is proof good things happen at Jemison, according to Cardozo. That is despite being on the states failing schools list two years in a row, "They do not need to underestimate all the things we're doing here at Jemison," said Cardozo.
The Principal of Jemison told WAAY 31 Mr. Pearson took his students to tour colleges during the fall while they were traveling around the state to competitions.
Now, the soccer coach is following his lead when taking the team to tournaments. The principal said this could be the beginning of a blueprint for future success throughout the school.