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Ms. Krajewski from New York NY is requesting a classroom visitor through DonorsChoose, the most trusted classroom funding site for teachers.

Student-led project

Exploring Identity and Society Through Song

Help us get Ben Joseph, accomplished music producer to write songs with our students!

  • $997 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

About My Students

Adrian, Madison, Shane, Owen, Taree, Roman and their classmates attend a progressive public high school that creates learning environments based on external, experiential education. Recognized as a ”non-traditional academic haven for struggling students,” our students sought out the program because of the experiential learning opportunities through internships. Our students know they learn differently- some learn by seeing some by hearing, others by doing. They came to our school to receive an individualized education that will help them to reach their full potential. These students have transferred from educational institutions from all over New York City. Our school population includes students who are overage and under-credited with over 10 percent homeless, living in temporary shelters, or in foster care; safety transfers–students; young mothers and fathers utilizing on-campus childcare services; and teens leaving residential psychiatric facilities and correctional facilities.

Our school helps provide a diverse group of committed interns to businesses and organizations across all five boroughs, breaking down barriers and prejudices against the city's hardest-to-reach young people while providing them with real-world skills to help jump-start their future. MAD Academy (Music, Art, Design) helps students gain pre-professional training to be prepared to pursue creative industry careers.

We will have Ben Joseph Vernon, a professional music producer and composer, visit our classroom to help our students write and record songs that explore important aspects of their individual identity and experiences that also speak to a larger social issue, or set of social issues. This project provides the opportunity for a rich exploration of self and the broader society in which they experience. The conventions of the memoir genre in song are different than writing a research paper or a literary essay. Creativity and self-expression are central to writing an effective memoir. Students' personal writing, speaking, and thinking style is an asset. This project integrates storytelling, musical composition, civics, critical analysis and engaged citizenship through the arts. Musicians and artists are some of the most important vessels for promoting understanding of the human experience.

In Their Own Words

Music has always been an extremely useful outlet to express our most extreme thoughts and emotions. If it wasn’t for music and the intense personal connection to it, it is safe to presume we would not be in the same creatively challenging state of mind that we inhibit now. We want to gain more experience with songwriting, collaboration, music production, studio equipment and sampling in particular. We are fascinated with taking sounds and transforming them into something entirely different.

The genuine joy of being in the presence of creation is something that we want to feel all the time. Being apart of MAD Academy our school gives us that but being able to give that to other people makes us far happier and has given us the motivation we have lacked for so long. Hopefully, this will lead us to a platform that will allow us to be a voice for the voiceless. We seek to redefine what it means to be a human amidst whatever else is going on around us. For us, this redefining is a constant process, because our surroundings change constantly, and by surroundings we mean both physical and cultural. Because we strive to reach the heart of every moment in this cultural and physical flipbook of a city and world, we have to take risks. We have to be able to bare out own feelings in our work, because they have a magical power.

We are excited to have professional producer and an alumni of our school, Ben Joseph, come to help us write, perform and record songs. He is very talented and knows exactly the type of music we like and what our lives are like. Artwork usually put us in a great state of mind. We say this because we can express ideas in variety of ways. We use art communicate, to express ourselves , and to be understood. Our goal is to continue to attempt this kind of full disclosure and explore new metaphors, and to see past others judgement when we aren't sure of what we are doing. We believe art can reduce stress by helping to heal society and individuals. Art also builds self-esteem because while is is challenging, usually when you’re finish, it can feel rewarding.

Ms. Krajewski
Grades 9-12
More than half of students from low‑income households

Equity Focus

At this school, more than 50% of students are Black, Latino, and/or Native American, and more than 50% come from low-income households. Learn how your donation to this school supports a more equitable education.

This project will reach 40 students.

2 donors have given to this project.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Visitor Total
Ben Joseph Vernon $805.00

Visitor cost


Vendor shipping charges


Sales tax


3rd party payment processing fee


Fulfillment labor & materials


Total project cost


Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Total project goal


How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


1 Donor


Donations toward project cost


Donations to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


match offer


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Project Activity

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