Popular program brings rock concert to Jasper High School

By Ron Harris
Posted 5/14/19

Jasper High School was rocking Monday afternoon — and it was all by design.Students were treated to a rock concert featuring Kirk Jay, a finalist on last season’s hit TV show The Voice. Jay, …

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Popular program brings rock concert to Jasper High School


Jasper High School was rocking Monday afternoon — and it was all by design.

Students were treated to a rock concert featuring Kirk Jay, a finalist on last season’s hit TV show The Voice. 

Jay, a native of Bay Minette, performed for a little more than an hour for students and faculty members. The concert was part of the ‘Reach and Teach’ program that business education students at the school have been studying this semester.

Monique Lawrence, a career and business education teacher at Jasper High School, called the concert — as well as the students’ work to put the event together — a huge success.

“It was great,” Lawrence said following Monday’s concert. “Our students did a fantastic job getting this ready for today. Everything went much better than I expected. The students were engaged, and that’s what we wanted. We wanted them to have a good time.”

Executive director April Clark said in a press release that ‘Reach and Teach’ is an educational program that allows students to plan, promote and execute a concert, giving them hands on experience, which not only teaches content knowledge but also employability skills such as teamwork, communication and problem solving. 

Complete with all lesson plans and resources, ‘Reach and Teach’ is geared toward career and technical education, specifically business and marketing, and implemented into the daily classroom activities.

“It’s really on-the-job training,” Clark said. “The students are learning these various aspects of marketing, but they’re also putting it into play at the same time. And they get to work with rock stars.”

The overall goal of ‘Reach and Teach’, the press release said, is to:

•Motivate and encourage students to discover new career paths.

•Provide opportunities for students to develop essential soft skills.

•Inspire teachers to explore new teaching methods.

•Facilitate productive partnerships between schools and industry and community leaders.

“It is our mission to provide passion and confidence to all students through the unconventional collaboration of education and rock and roll. Our goal is to provide an educational opportunity that is fun,” Clark said.

Cam Flener, lead singer for the popular band Velcro Pygmies, and Clark are the founders of the ‘Reach and Teach’ program. Flener said the program is invaluable in helping students —particularly business students — get a jump start on what it’s like to put together an event from the beginning. 

Monday’s concert was the last event for the second year of the ‘Reach and Teach’ program, Flener said.

Jay, who performed several familiar hit songs, as well as a few of his original songs, said he enjoyed Tuesday’s performance.

“There was a lot of great energy from the students, and that’s our goal when we come into schools like this,” Jay said. “Our biggest goals are to make sure the energy is there and everyone has fun.”

Monday’s performance was the first time Jay has performed a full concert as part of ‘Reach and Teach.’

“We were definitely excited about coming to Jasper High School,” he said. 

“Project-based learning is not a new concept,” Jasper High principal Jonathan Allen said. “I think the success of career tech education is attributed to the fact that students are doing things in their learning process that relate to what they will do in the real world. Because of this program, our students were able to plan a concert, just like they would if they were working for an entertainment company.

“The benefit for our students is that they’re having a relevant, real-life experience and how they would work in the real world,” he added. “I think that’s really what’s at the heart of project-based learning programs like this.”