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ICCU helps replace musical instruments lost in Highland fire

Highland band (right) and orchestra (left) students stand with Laura Smith (center) with their new instruments. | Logan Ramsey,
POCATELLO — A credit union made a “sizable” donation to replace the destroyed personal instruments of local high school students.
Idaho Central Credit Union partnered with Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 to donate $48,396 to replace a total of 42 personal instruments belonging to students in the Highland High School music program. Of these instruments, 30 were band instruments, 11 were orchestra instruments and one was an instrument belonging to a choir student.
“To be able to say, you’ll be taken care of, it meant a lot,” said Andrew Wilson, the Highland Band Director. “It was a big relief, so they could get something new.”
Laura Smith, Vice President of Community Development said it was important to ICCU to find a way to support students who had lost their instruments.
“This is an important program for kids development,” Smith said. “There are a lot of kids that love music and that are studying music and need these instruments to continue on with those studies.”
ICCU stepped in to make this donation because the district’s insurance company wouldn’t cover the personal instruments lost in the April 21 fire that ripped through the Highland High School D-wing. This was where the music classrooms were, and they were destroyed in this blaze.
RELATED | Highland High School Fire caused by electrical failure; accidental in nature
Wilson woke up at around 5 a.m. for early morning jazz band practice when he saw texts and notifications warning about the fire. While he said he was initially in shock and felt numb, he felt like they would get through it.
“I didn’t know how and I didn’t know when but felt like it was gonna be okay,” Wilson said.
When Braden LaMont, a Junior band student, heard the news, he didn’t know where the fire was in the school. He hoped the band room wouldn’t burn down.
“We usually go in (the band room) in the mornings and after school just to hang out, and so it’s definitely the room I spent the most time in,” LaMont said. He remembers thinking, “Man, I just really hope that it’s okay.”
Once he found out that it had been destroyed, it was “unbelievable.”
“It just felt so weird that it was gone,” he said.
RELATED | Highland High School failed its fire inspection before April’s blaze
That day, the team at ICCU gathered together and said, “Okay, what do we think we can do to help Highland?”
“At the time, there was so much going on, and what we decided was that we were just going to reach out and say, ‘Hey, when you guys know what your needs are, let us know,’” Smith said.
Wilson said it was stressful when they found out insurance didn’t cover the students’ instruments, and he wondered how he would tell his students.
“The school district made it clear upfront that they would try and find a way to get it covered,” Wilson said.
When LaMont found out that insurance didn’t cover their personal instruments, he was upset.
“We’re trusting our personal property be in (the) school, and it’s not even going to be covered if something bad happens to it,” LaMont said.
LaMont believes that without the band, his high school experience would be worse off.
“The crazy sounds we can make and the beautiful music we make as a band, it’s just so inspiring,” LaMont said.
Eventually, Superintendent Douglas Howell reached out to ICCU to take them up on their offer. The instruments ICCU replaced covered a wide price range, from small accessories to large instruments — including an oboe.
Wilson and LaMont both said they are grateful for ICCU’s help.
“We’re grateful that ICCU came forward and made that donation to make sure they were taken care of,” Wilson said.
The post ICCU helps replace musical instruments lost in Highland fire appeared first on East Idaho News.

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