Isaiah Jones didn’t own a flute. Three of his school’s flutes were in disrepair, so he engineered a single instrument using the three. Now he’ll be studying computer science and engineering at LSU.
“At our school, the instruments are mostly worn out,” Isaiah said. “The band did the best with what instruments we had. Even though they were in disrepair, our band directors would pay out of their pockets to fix them.”
Far too often, arts programs in schools are underfunded. Isaiah told the Arts Council that if he had the money, he would make sure Carroll High School (where he graduated as Student of the Year this spring) had more instruments. When Arts Council board member Debora Colvin heard this story, she decided to start the Let’s Band Together! instrument drive so that more children like Isaiah have the opportunity to study music.
Isaiah’s love for the arts started in the 6th grade when he learned to play the clarinet. He’s since mastered the flute, piccolo and cello. While in foster care during high school, he joined the Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts on scholarship where he enjoyed learning to sing, act, and dance. When asked what he would say to the donor who funds SYAA’s scholarship program, Isaiah said, “I would thank them for their outreach because the program establishes diversity for people who want to be in plays but just can’t afford it. I really would thank them.”
Isaiah’s talent in the arts has pushed him toward a career in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). He scored a 30 on the ACT and was recently accepted into the LSU Honors College. He hopes to one day become a software developer in the gaming industry.
“Coding is a form of arts,” Isaiah said. “Coding is about being flexible.”
Research shows that children involved in the arts are more optimistic about enrolling in college, score higher in math and language, and are more likely to graduate high school. Isaiah is no exception.