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Finding Identity Through Song: A Q&A with Israel Peréz

As part of #MusicInOurSchoolsMonth this March, we’re highlighting some of our partners at our School Program sites who help make the music happen! Israel Peréz is the principal at Richard Yates Elementary School, with 20 years of educational experience, including fifteen years in Chicago Public Schools. We spoke with him about how he creates community and more!

Uniting Voices: What do you enjoy about working with Uniting Voices?

Israel Peréz: The best thing about Uniting Voices is that I have seen our quietest students blossom into beautiful singers and performers. Uniting Voices allows our students to find their own unique voice, and that voice is found through music.

UV: What do you appreciate about music education?

IP: Music education is the place where students get the chance to express themselves no matter what trauma or experiences they have faced in their young lives.

UV: What's one thing you wish people knew about your job?

IP: I wish that people knew that as school principals, we are not just the boss. School principals are also partners in ensuring that students find their passions, their love for learning, and their agency in life.

UV: How do you feel your job makes a difference in the world?

IP: I feel that as a school principal, my job is to teach all parts of my school community to be a family. In families, we may disagree but we all will still love each other and respect each other's point of view.