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The college arts program in Panama City Beach gets a big boost

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) — Surfside Middle School in Panama City Beach will be playing cheerful tunes this fall.

St. Joe’s Community Foundation provided a $50,000 grant to the school. The nonprofit organization says its mission is to enrich the quality of life for people in Northwest Florida.

The funds will be used for the fine arts program, replacing items such as lights, speakers and soundboards. With this investment, students will have the opportunity to learn using modern, industry-standard equipment.

“You know that over time things have to be replaced and improved and so that’s what we seek to do,” said James Colvin, group principal at Surfside Middle School.

Surfside director Matt Pitts spearheaded the project and helped secure the nonprofit organization’s grant.

“I told him what we needed and the approximate cost and about two weeks ago we got a letter saying it had been approved,” Colvin said.

Students will now benefit from more polished and immersive shows.

“We can have some of our band gigs here with enhanced staging and sound, and of course Mr. Mullins with an enhanced theater program to do it all here as well,” Colvin said. “Whether [only] you could hear things now, and see things when we do a production, and what it will be like afterwards.

Teachers hope to see continued investment in the arts. They say things like music allow students to uniquely express everything they learn in other classrooms, while tapping into their creativity.

Curriculum upgrades will be underway as experts visit the school to identify specific areas for improvement.

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