PAN-JUMBIE

Students, teacher fight to save steel drum program

US – After a 22-year run, a nationally renowned Chula Vista steel drum band may have played its final concert Monday morning.

“I just don’t understand how it went from a gold staple program when I was in it to being eradicated,” said one former student who showed up at the Sweetwater School Board meeting Monday night.

The steel drum program serves Southwest Middle and High School students, many from underprivileged communities. The band has played for two U.S. Presidents and at Super Bowl XXXVII.

“I’m not a bad teacher, and I got a bunch of people to back me up,” said Keith Ballard, the band director.

Ballard has won more than 20 teaching awards, including being named the national music teacher of the year.

“All he wants is a chance,” a parents said to the school board Monday.

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