Shopping centre donates piano to benefit students

Roselands shopping centre’s Sue McKindlay and Lara Palejko made sure the centre’s old mini grand piano was delivered safely to Punchbowl Boys High before enjoying some tunes with teacher Michael White and students Yoosuf Mohamed and Phyo Shwe.

WHEN music teacher Michael White arrived at Punchbowl Boys High School, the Music department had virtually nothing, except for broken instruments, damaged speakers and stringless guitars.

That all changed when Roselands shopping centre hosted the No Excuse for Abuse performance series.
Guest Experience Manager Lara Palejko met Mr White and after hearing of his struggles, the Roselands centre decided to donate their mini grand piano.
“The piano was able to provide ambient music during its time at Roselands but since then, it’s just sat near our office reminding us that it’s a part of the centre’s history that isn’t even getting used – so why let this beautiful instrument waste away when it could influence and change students lives every year,” Ms Palejko said.
Mr White said: “When I arrived at the school in 2015, my first priority was to gain the trust of students and to prove to them that music had a meaning in and outside the classroom.
“I began to ingrain a passion for music at Punchbowl Boys High School. Most importantly, one that was relatable for students.
“I had been mentoring a core group of students who would eventually form a successful band ‘320’, named after my classroom. These boys went on to win the prestigious Youth Rock competition in 2018. The boys now have an LP on Spotify and iTunes all before they have completed their HSC this year.
“Being the only music teacher, it has been a monumental effort to build a small musical empire at Punchbowl Boys High School and thanks so much for the mini grand piano; there is a strong future here in music and I’m glad I’m the one driving the bus.”