SUN PHOTO BY SOMMER BROKAW Jan Stephens of the Charlotte Community Foundation donated a $684.41 check in memory of her son, Matthew Stephens, to the band program at Punta Gorda Middle School on Tuesday morning - the first day back for teachers. Her son was killed in a car crash at age 19 in North Port on Interstate 75 just east of Toledo Blade Blvd. three years ago. "Music was his life," Jan said. "It's really in his memory to keep music alive for those who cannot afford it." Band Director Scott Courtney, who will teach an estimated 280 kids in six classes this year, said band can be expensive with the cost of instruments and repairs, but it's important because it helps keep kids well- rounded. He doesn't like to turn anyone way. He will stretch the money out by making repairs to the instruments they have. From Left: Curriculum Specialist at Charlotte County Public Schools Ellen Harvey, Courtney, PGMS Principal Tina Dionisio, Jan, her daughter, Melanie, and her husband, Mark.

SUN PHOTO BY SOMMER BROKAW
 From Left: Curriculum Specialist at Charlotte County Public Schools Ellen Harvey, Courtney, PGMS Principal Tina Dionisio, Jan, her daughter, Melanie, and her husband, Mark.

Jan Stephens, of the Charlotte Community Foundation, donated a $684.41 check in memory of her son, Matthew Stephens, to the band program at Punta Gorda Middle School on Tuesday morning — the first day back for teachers.

Her son was killed in a car crash at age 19 on Interstate 75 near Toledo Blade Boulevard three years ago.

“Music was his life,” Jan said. “It’s really in his memory to keep music alive for those who cannot afford it.”

Band Director Scott Courtney, who will teach an estimated 280 kids in six classes this year, said band can be expensive with the cost of instruments and repairs, but it’s important because it helps kids stay well-rounded. He doesn’t like to turn anyone away, and he will stretch the money out by making repairs to the instruments they already have.

— Compiled by Sommer Brokaw