About the Rock School Scholarship Fund
When I was running the School of Rock, Hollywood with Carl Restivo, there were several exceptional students. There was one in particular that we all knew had “it.” He seemed to be born with a guitar as an extension of his body, and he rarely put it down. I loved standing next to people in the audience who were experiencing him performing, because they’d be awed, and it made me feel so proud for him, and for all the kids. His parents had named him Waylon, and music is clearly his destiny. But when the recession hit, his father, Brian, approached me because his pay had been cut, and he could no longer afford to keep both Waylon and his daughter in the school. This was one of my inspirations for creating the Rock School Scholarship Fund. While we were awaiting IRS approval, Brian and I worked out ways for him to cover the tuition. The school had a wooden deck in the back with picnic tables, so we bought a BBQ to put out there, and every Saturday and Sunday, he would come and BBQ hot dogs and hamburgers for the staff and the kids, and charge two or three dollars apiece. He got his boss at the beverage company where he worked to agree to donate assorted beverages to the school, and we sold them for $1 each, which all went toward his kid’s tuition. Then when the Rock School Scholarship Fund was formed and approved by the IRS as a nonprofit, we were able to give his daughter a temporary scholarship from the donations we received.
The family fortunes have since improved – thanks to a new job for Brian. And Waylon just turned 16, two days after the band he was invited to join, KITTEN, opened for NO DOUBT at the Gibson Amphitheatre. The band just signed with Elektra Records.
How many Waylon’s are out there who don’t have moms or dads who would, or could, spend every Saturday AND Sunday selling burgers to raise money for their kid’s music education? We won’t know unless people donate to the RSSF, so that we can give those kids scholarships, and give them a chance. Our average scholarship award is $140 per child, per month. You can donate HERE and help one of the kids on our waiting list, immediately!
- Wendy Winks
This photo will put the story about Waylon, above, in context:
“If it weren’t for music scholarships I wouldn’t have been able to learn what I know now. So when I got the call to do the Rock School Scholarship Fund, I jumped on the opportunity. I play music because it’s what I love to do and every single kid that I met at that event, had that same fire. The kids are just simply amazing! Singers, guitarists, drummers, bassists, keyboards, they have it all!! I’m so happy I got to do this with the kids because it reminds me to have fun. It’s easy to lose track in this business, but playing with those kids brought my fire back. The fire that made me want to be a singer in the 1st place. A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to the RSSF, the teachers, all the kids and to anyone and everyone who supports this great cause. Thanks for letting me be a part of it!! You Rock!!!” - James Durbin
“I had so much fun jamming out with the kids. They are all so talented and sweet. I knew from when I was 6 that music would be my life, and I used to spend most of my time in the music room. It’s sad to hear that music programs are often removed from public schools, so it meant a lot to be a part of the Rock School Scholarship Fund show.” - Orianthi
“As a band we believe music tuition should be available to anyone who wants it. It greatly benefits the individual, which in turn benefits the country.” Bono
“Music is the universal language. It has the ability to transcend and convey every human emotion that exists without saying a word. Music kept me off the streets and out of trouble and gave me something that was mine that no one could take away from me. Music education and families are dealing with the economic times, and I wanted to help them. If I can help a kid discover a liking, or even a passion for music in their life, then that’s a wonderful thing. Music has provided a good life for me and hopefully it can help make life better for others….” Eddie Van Halen
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Special Thanks to the following design artists for our “look”
Graphic Design: Barbara Boros and Gina Liu
Website: http://www.bigideagroupnyc.com – Ed O’Callaghan
Photography: Jody Delli Santi, and Sarvey Tahmasebi Rector
And of course a big thank you to Dave Stewart & the School of Rock Hollywood All Stars who performed at our inaugural fundraiser on September 12, 2010, and to AnQi Bistro and ONE LLP for hosting it!