By Jay O’Sullivan
As the musicians climb to the darkened stage, the low hum of amplifiers blends with the sounds of the hundreds gathered. With the first chord, the musicians and stage are bathed in light, the crowd surges, and Rock The District is underway. An annual event showcasing some of the Valley’s most talented musicians, RTD’s differentiator is the musicians are all kids in middle and high school.
Envisioned and created eight years ago by Cactus Shadows Alum, Melissa Nelson, Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation (CCUEF), continues to expand on Melissa’s idea and features Rock the District as its flagship event. CCUEF, led by a partnership of parents and community members, is a registered Arizona non-profit foundation that supports the mission of the Cave Creek Unified School District. Over its eight-year run, RTD has raised over $200,000 for Cave Creek Unified School District, thanks to these amazing student musicians.
CCUEF is also generously supported by individuals, parents, local businesses and corporations in the community. This support and RTD all funds the execution of Grant the District. During the year, teachers within the district can apply for funding, classroom materials and other resources to help further the education and experiences of their students. Applications are reviewed by the board and recipients are notified by surprise at their schools, complete with a tour bus delivering over-sized checks to the teachers and their cheering fans!
Grant the District has awarded Teacher grants that have funded iPads, Steel drums, Acoustic Guitars, equipment for Culinary Arts classes, Writing programs, and many other meaningful resources that pave the way for CCUSD students’ future success.
CCUEF’s all-volunteer board works tirelessly to ensure that 100-percent of the funds raised go back to the schools. The board’s mission is to support programs for learning in all of our schools and to continue building on the success of RTD as well as to create new fundraising efforts to support Cave Creek Unified School District.