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University of South Florida

USF Music Alumna, Melissa Salguero, wins 2018 GRAMMY Music Educator Award

Friday, January 26, 2018

USF School of Music alumna, Melissa Salguero, Music Education '09, won the 2018 GRAMMY Music Educator Award for her significant contribution to the field of music education.

USF music alumna, Melissa Salguero, conducting band practice.

Melissa Salguero conducting band practice. Source: CBS News

"Don't Stop Believing." That's the song that Melissa Salguero first kept singing with her guitar when she arrived at P.S. 48 Elementary School in New York in 2010. Located in Hunts Point, one of the poorest districts in the country, the school lacked instruments and a music program at the time Salguero arrived. Through tireless dedication to her students and an enduring passion for music, Salguero built an impactful music program. Teaching her students how to make a keyboard using bananas is just one of the creative ways she engages them, and they in turn speak of how she makes a difference in their day. In Salguero's band and chorus classes, students learn the value of creativity, humor, and hard work.

When the school was burglarized in 2014 and keyboards, flutes, and saxophones were stolen, she did not give up. Using the auditorium as their classroom and pooling from her personal resources to procure instruments for her students, Salguero revived the music program at P.S. 48. She was invited onto "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," where Ellen personally presented her with a check for $50,000 for the music program.

Salguero has never stopped believing in her students and in the power of music, and now the Recording Academy has recognized her hard work and made her the first woman to receive the GRAMMY Music Educator Award. No doubt she will continue to inspire her students for a long time to come. As part of her award, she received $10,000, with a matching check for the school. Salguero graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Music Education in 2009, and was formerly a drum major for the USF Herd of Thunder marching band.

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