Hawaii teacher’s big idea: Create a statewide competition to celebrate young musical talent

Zachary Morita is up for a $100,000 grant to turn his proposal into a reality.

Hawaii teacher’s big idea: Create a statewide competition to celebrate young musical talent
Middle school music teacher Zachary Morita wants to create an instrumental competition for students.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Niu Valley Middle School music teacher Zachary Morita wants to create a competition he calls the Niu Valley Music Olympic Invitational.

“I wanted to bring some sort of music event, a prestigious event, here to Hawaii that our students can be a part of,” Morita said.

His proposal reached the final round of Farmers Insurance Thank America’s Teachers Dream Big Teacher Challenge.

It could earn his school a $100,000 grant.

"A big chunk of the $100,000 is going to purchase quality instruments," he said.

Morita said he would invite low-income students and schools with small music programs to use the instruments for the competition.

"What that does is it levels the playing field when they're competing against more financially stable teams," he said.

Should he win the award, some of the money would purchase equipment so students can record their performances.

The event would be an instrumental showcase for public, private and home-schooled students.

“They’re going to compete in various categories — solo, duet, trio, quartet and large ensemble,” Morita said.

Professional musicians would coach the kids.

Morita’s idea is one of 15 proposals to make it to Farmers' finals.

"It's something that he's well-deserving of. It will definitely help the students should he be fortunate enough to get the grant," vice principal Derek Tsuruda said.

Five teachers with the most votes will get $100,000.

“We’re going to try to do as much as we can to get the word out,” Morita said.

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