Carlos Santana Returns to His Alma Mater Mission High School October 24th to Honor and Promote the School's Academic Achievements

Mission High School Choir, Guitar Club and Members of Little Kids Rock will perform alongside Santana featuring Cindy Blackman Santana on Drums at a very special school assembly

Oct 20, 2011, 10:00 ET from Santana

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Carlos Santana's dream to "come home" to Mission High School (Mission) will be realized on Monday morning, October 24th when he will tour, speak to a group of students and then perform at a school assembly to honor and promote Mission's academic achievements guided by Principal Eric Guthertz.  

Guthertz's mantra since his appointment has been that "Mission High School is NOT waiting for Superman!"  He has dedicated his career to find a better way for the students of Mission High School to graduate and go on to college.

Five years ago, Mission embarked on an ambitious plan and program to dramatically decrease its drop-out rate, increase graduation rates, increase scores on state tests, and send more students to college than ever before. Given today's economy, cutbacks and living with smaller budgets, Mission began to challenge the preconceived notion that only smaller "players" working outside the public school system can make a difference.  

In 2011, Mission achieved that goal by developing, implementing, and nurturing a connected and unified community plan in the city by building strong personal relationships between the faculty, the community and its students.  

Today, Mission High School has achieved an impressive goal of 84% of all of its seniors accepted into college last year.  Students, parents, staff, teachers and administrators have created a community where children feel safe, respected and thrive. The school is two blocks from Mission Dolores, from which it gets its name. The current student body is diverse with Latino, Chinese and African American students making up the majority of the student body.

Carlos (where he attended as a student 45 years ago) will return to tour the school in the morning, speak to a group of students and then members of his band along with his wife and drummer extraordinaire Cindy Blackman Santana will take the stage at the school theater that has 1,750 folding wooden seats on two levels with a gold leaf ceiling (and is perhaps one of the nicest historical auditoriums in the city) for a short concert.  Alongside Santana's performance, 32 students of Mission High School Choir will start the program, members of the Guitar Club will perform with Carlos; and, then 15 Guitar Club members will receive a generous donation of guitars from Little Kids Rock.

Carlos's Milagro Foundation Executive Director Shelley Brown and Program Associate Ruthie Moutafian reached out to Principal Eric Guthertz who has helped guide this program that serves grades 9-12 to make this day happen.

"As a former educator, I believe there is no greater accomplishment than to do what Principal Guthertz has done at Mission High School -- create a community where students are motivated with a love of learning and a desire for a successful future," Shelley Brown, Milagro Foundation Executive Director, said.

In 1998 the Milagro Foundation provided startup funding and instruments to a develop a non-profit organization called Little Kids Rock.  Milagro's generous gift has seen Little Kids Rock grow to become a national organization providing more than 160,000 students with the lifelong gift of music education.  Now running programs in 24 cities, Little Kids Rock has donated more than 35,000 free instruments, resources and lessons to schoolchildren in under-served public schools across the country.

"Little Kids Rock's relationship with Mission High School began in 2009 with a donation of 30 guitars and curriculum in support of their afterschool music program," David Wish, Executive Director, Little Kids Rock said. "Today the connection comes full circle as Little Kids Rock and the Milagro Foundation come together with a special donation of an additional 20 acoustic and 12 electric guitars to the school. The acoustic guitars will be donated courtesy of The Hermes Foundation.  These instruments will be presented on stage to the students by Carlos Santana."

"It is an honor for the Hermes Music Foundation to be able to support great and important projects that provide music education to the children in the United States and Mexico,"  Roxana Drexel, Hermes Music Foundation, said. "Creating harmony through the magic that only music can produce, the Hermes Music Foundation is proud to be united together with Carlos Santana in bringing the joy of music to the children of Mission High School in San Francisco, California.  Because we believe that where there is music, there is happiness.  Where there is happiness, there is harmony."

Mission High School founded in 1890 is San Francisco, California's oldest high school.  It is a deeply diverse, large urban institution.  Mission has been on 18th Street, between Dolores and Church, since 1896. The original campus burned in 1922, and the replacement was completed in two stages, the west wing in 1925 and the main building was dedicated by San Francisco mayor James Rolph on June 12, 1927. And, it has undergone a restoration program over the last few years helping to complement its overall program and its academic success.

Other recent graduates of Mission include: American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" Maya Angelou; State Senator Leland Yee; and, Charles Phan (world famous chef and owner of Slanted Door).  Early graduates include: James Rolph: governor of California (1931–1934) and mayor of San Francisco (1912–1931); 1950s pop singer, Guy Mitchell; and, Alan Gallagher, former San Francisco Giants third baseman.

Carlos Santana has sold more than 90 million records and reached more than 100 million fans at concerts worldwide. To date, Santana has won ten Grammy® Awards, including a record-tying nine for a single project, 1999's Supernatural (including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for "Smooth"). In 1998, the group was ushered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, whose web page on their induction notes, "Guitarist Carlos Santana is one of rock's true virtuosos and guiding lights." Among many other honors, Carlos Santana has also been cited by Rolling Stone as #15 on their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." With last year's CD release of "Guitar Heaven" Santana joined the ranks of The Rolling Stones as the only musical act in chart history to score at least one Top 10 album in every decade beginning with the 1960s.  It was Santana's 29th Billboard Top 200 charting release, 12th Top 10 album debut and third Top 10 debut in the past 5 years.

Mission High School is located at 3750 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. The telephone number is: ( 415) 241-6240

SOURCE Santana