In an outpouring of support, community members and organizations are stepping forward with donations to help Whittier High School and the district raise funds to replace four tubas that were stolen from the school in June.
“We are truly touched by the number of alumni, community members and groups who have come forward to assist us in purchasing replacement tubas,” said Whittier High School Principal Lori Eshilian. “It is times like these that make us feel so fortunate to be a part of a supportive and caring community such as Whittier.”
More than $6,000 has been raised to date with $3,000 coming from the Whittier Police Officers’ Association.
“Our Annual Cops Helping Kids Golf Tournament in July helped us with the donation,” said Detective David Yoshitake, President of the Whittier Police Officers’ Association. “We are grateful that we were able to contribute to the school’s band, and are amazed to see the community all rally together to help.”
Rep. Linda Sanchez has donated $500 from her campaign fund. The Whittier High School Alumni Association has gathered $1,000 in donations. The Whittier Lion’s Club raised $1,300. Restaurateur Joe Garcia donated $1,300 in proceeds to his alma mater from a fundraising event he held at Famous Joe’s.
The Whittier Women’s Club raised $200. In addition, Whittier’s marching band students have been attending Whittier’s Concert in the Park performances seeking donations from attendees and have raised about $300. Whittier High graduate Blanca Cordova, the owner of Bianca's Garden Full Service Hair Salon, also organized a fundraiser in order to help her alma mater.
“I was almost in tears when I found out the tubas were stolen,” said Brooklyn Slagoski, a Whittier High School sophomore and tuba player in the marching band. “They have sentimental value because they have been passed down for years by band members.”
“Words can’t really express how thankful we are that the community helped us, but we will continue to work hard and take good care of the new tubas as a way to express our thanks,” Slagoski said.
In late June, burglars broke into the Whittier High School band room and stole four King-brand brass sousaphones – marching band tubas – and tuba mouthpieces. The instruments are estimated to cost $5,000 each.
In order for the marching band to have tubas to rehearse with before school begins, the Whittier Union High School District has paid more than $18,000 to replace the four refurbished tubas, said Superintendent Sandra Thorstenson. Any donations to Whittier High School’s band program will help defray that cost and will be much appreciated, Thorstenson said.
“While continued cuts in state funding have greatly strained our resources, we firmly believe that education in the visual and performing arts is an essential component of a well-rounded education and we will continue to support programs such as instrumental music and marching band as best we can,” said Superintendent Sandra Thorstenson. “Any donations we receive are a tremendous help to us, especially during these difficult financial times, and we are grateful to all those who have donated money to help our Cardinal Band march on.”
“It was a sad day when we learned of the theft, but we are so grateful to our administrators, Board of Trustees, and especially the community for their help in getting us new tubas,” said Jesse Meza, director of the Whittier High School Marching Band. “We are thankful for everyone’s donations. Our band can now be prepared for the busy season ahead.”
“It is a great feeling to know that the community has come together to help us,” said Jasmine Hernandez, a junior, and a euphonium player in the marching band. “I know that I, and the rest of the band, really appreciate the help.”
Those who would like to make a donation can send their checks to: The Whittier High School Tuba Fund, 12417 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier, CA 90601. Please make the check out to Whittier High School and write Whittier High School Tubas on the memo line. For information, call (562) 698-8121, ext. 2010.