Local school needs the public’s help to save their beloved arts program

CHULA VISTA, Calif. --  A local elementary school is vying for $15,000 in grant money to help save it’s visual and performing arts program -- and it’s asking for your help.

Otay Elementary is one of 48 schools in California participating in a grant contest run by the state. Right now they're in 12th place.

If you walk the halls of Otay Elementary you will see and hear the talented students who participate in the school's Visual and Performing Arts -- or VAPA -- Program.  But the program is in danger of shutting down.

“[We're] watching children at Otay just blossoming with the arts. Music, dance, PE, art in the classroom," said VAPA teacher Joan Dedrick.

But Dedrick says there aren’t enough funds in the budget to keep it’s three part-time instructors.

“I come to work everyday with a smile on my face because I know how fulfilling it is for the students here at Otay, and I want that program to be as good as it is and better,” said Dedrick.

Through a contest hosted by ScholarShare, California’s official 529 college savings plan run by the state treasurer, Otay Elementary and 47 other schools are vying for $15,000 in grant money. But they need the public to vote.

"We have a lot of students who may struggle academically, or they are dealing with trauma, and the art program especially gives them such a needed outlet and such opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise get outside of school,” said Otay Elementary Resource Teacher Tara Gonzalez.

Right now, Otay Elementary is in 12th place -- and other schools are closing in.

“Obviously we’d like to be number one so that we can get the $15,000 grant, and it’s just voting, that’s all we need is the votes,” said Gonzalez.

Votes that will help so many students reach their potential.

“Vote for us. Tell a friend, tell a girlfriend, tell your coworkers, tell everyone. Please, we need your help,” said PTO parent volunteer, Jose Castro.

Voters have until March 23rd to participate, and they can vote here.