Triumph over a loss


Bianca Salgado

The principal of Griffiths Middle School, Mr Stapp, and current drummer for the school’s band, Julian Thomas, 8, show off their “Support Music” wristbands for an ongoing cause. Over the summer the instruments were stolen, so the music department immediately came to action by selling wristbands for $5 each, as a way to fundraise in order to purchase new equipment.

Rodas Hailu, Co-Editor-in-Chief

During the past summer break, Griffiths Middle School suffered from a break-in that resulted in the loss of many band instruments. Griffiths has had break-ins and computers stolen before, but nothing of this magnitude has happened to the campus.

“I was actually on vacation when I got an email from a MOT [Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation] official telling me about the break-in,” Griffiths Middle School Principal Gregg Stapp said. “This is the first time that we’ve had band instruments stolen.”

The burglars managed to get into the ventilation system and enter Ms. Taylor’s classroom, the band instructor at Griffiths Middle School. Once they entered, the burglars took about 30 instruments with them, such as flutes, clarinets and baritone horns; however, some of the stolen instruments were eventually found.

“Some of the stolen instruments were actually found in a neighboring city, like Paramount, and some were found on emergency bins on campus,” Stapp said.

As a way to compensate for the loss, there have been many strategies as to how to purchase new instruments. One solution is Downey Unified School District replacing the instruments, a price that will cost about $15,000.  Students, such as Griffiths Middle School band member Amado Castillo, were initially concerned about the cost to replace the instruments.

“ I was shocked because I honestly thought they [DUSD] would have to pay for all of the instruments, but they have insurance, so it will be ok,” Castillo said.

Although Castillo’s trumpet was not stolen, several of his friends were not as fortunate.

“They took a ton of my friends’ instruments,” Castillo said. “They [his friends] were surprised; they freaked out at first, but they are not any more since the instruments can be replaced.”

Griffiths is taking initiative by selling wristbands to all the middle schools and high schools within the district. The wristbands are colored to a certain shade that represents a specific school’s colors, and are stamped with the words “Support Music.” Downey students are doing their part in supporting this cause by purchasing the wristbands. Junior Mario Lopez, a fellow Downey Band student, bought his maroon wristband out of empathy.

“I was shocked that someone could be capable of stealing instruments,” Lopez said. “What if my instrument was being stolen?”

Regardless of this incident, Ms. Taylor has made sure that her band students will receive their music education.

“No classes have been dropped because all the instruments have been replaced,” Taylor said.

Although the break-in has dampened the mood of the administration and the students, nothing has stopped Griffiths Band from producing the music they cherish.