Students at HISD’s Atherton Elementary School students will soon have more reasons to toot their own horns, after the Gospel Music Heritage Month Foundation (GMHMF) awarded that campus a $750 scholarship to support its fine arts programs.
Dr. Albert Lemons, who serves as Atherton’s principal, accepted the award on behalf of his school on Sept. 14, during the GMHMF’s annual show at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
“I’m very seldom speechless,” said Dr. Lemons. “But this came as a complete surprise. Every year, I work backstage at this event, helping the artists, making sure they have refreshments, and getting other people who don’t belong back there out. This year, nobody was saying anything, but they treated me like a guest and seated me in the front row. I thought, ‘Well, I guess they just want me to rest. And for the first time, I’ll get to see the show.’ But near the end of the last number, they sent someone out to say they needed me, and that’s when Sheila Jackson Lee told me my school was being honored.”
The scholarship was one of the very first to be awarded by the GMHMF organization. The $1,500 prize was split evenly between Atherton and the Duke Ellington Fine Arts School in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Lemons said he will use the money to have the beginning band’s instruments repaired and retuned, and to pay for the insurance required to be carried on them. He will also replace some worn out drumheads.