The trip from Roanoke, Ala., to New Orleans is exactly 415 miles. And one band director from the Alabama town is jogging the entire distance to raise money for his students.
Matthew Goodman leads the band at Handley High School, which as has been selected to perform at the 2019 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. But, he says they'll need $80,000 to cover food, hotels, transportation, and educational attractions while they are in town.
"I am striving to provide more resources and opportunities for the students in the rural community of Roanoke," Goodman told AL.com reporter Starr Dunigan. "I believe that music saves lives and that students need to be exposed to various cultures and opportunities outside of their community. Band is the perfect opportunity."
And while Goodman and his band members began fundraising on their own in May by washing cars and selling snacks, Goodman says they've still got much more money to make before they reach their goal. So, he's charting out on a journey of his own, sacrificing his time and his body to help his students.
The 63 members in the Handley Band would get a ton of exposure on the trip, including a performance in the bowl game parade, a Battle of the Bands competition with other high school bands and the game's halftime show.
Goodman says many of his students aren't able to afford the expenditures of the trip on their own, and he doesn't want to leave anyone behind.
"Band is supposed to be inclusive. I didn't want to segregate the band by economic status," Goodman said. "I felt compelled as an educator to find the funds to make this happen."
Goodman and one of his students sat down and did the math. They'd like to raise $182,600 for the band program, hoping that donors would pledge to fund 25 cents for each of the 730,400 steps it'd take Goodman to jog to New Orleans. Goodman says that every dollar will go to the band program.
"We are trying to create sustainability so the program can thrive and survive for years to come -- so it can continue to be a safe space for all students," Goodman said.
Goodman is already out on his run. Those interested can follow his journey on social media by checking the hashtags #GoTheExtraMile4Music and #Miles4Music. The running educator is on-pace to make it to New Orleans on Saturday.
Donors can mail checks to the school at 100 Tiger Circle, Roanoke, AL 36274 or visit Goodman's GoFundMe page. As of Thursday, November 15, the page has raised over $11,500.
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