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When the instruments arrived, “I heard a lot of ‘I can’t do this,’” Smith said. “Some of them have really surprised me. They’re finding out they have the confidence to do this.”

They even persuaded her to let them perform “Jingle Bells” at a Christmas concert, even though she didn’t think they were ready.

Kermit students now practice in class and once a week after school, and they’re looking forward to performing at the school’s spring concert. Many say they want to continue playing into high school and perhaps college. However, Davidson said the goal isn’t creating future musicians _ but making kids passionate about learning.

“If nothing else, music engages kids in school,” Davidson said. “It gives them a reason to want to be in school. It gets them to come to school, which is the first step in getting them a great education is getting them in the door.”