Ochoa Middle School orchestra prepares for final concert

PASCO, Wash. — Ochoa Middle School teacher, Allen Madsen, composed an original song for his middle schoolers to perform at their final concert. It was based on a quote from the school’s namesake, Dr. Ellen Ochoa.

“‘Reach for the Stars’ is a song Mr. Madsen wrote for us. He said it’s an inspiration for us. He wrote it with all his love for us,” said Brittany Rafael, an eighth grade violinist at Ochoa Middle School.

Madsen is the orchestra and guitar teacher at Ochoa Middle School, and has been teaching there for 13 years.

“I wrote a piece for my students, just to show them how much I care for them, and give them something to work toward and a goal to achieve by the end of the year,” said Madsen.

‘Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars,’ is a quote from Dr. Ellen Ochoa. The school was named after the astronaut 20 years ago. Madsen says she’s an inspiration for both boys and girls.

“She was the first Hispanic female astronaut to go into space. She went on four different space shuttle missions, and was eventually the Director of NASA in Houston,” said Madsen. “She’s a very brilliant and intelligent woman and a remarkable role model for these students.”

“I’ve been inspired by her story, and her willingness to work hard, defying odds, and just being a remarkable person,” Madsen said.

He wrote this song not only for her…but also for his students.

“In the east-Pasco community, particularly during the pandemic and the school closure, I feel like a lot of students felt isolated, felt even more alone, and as we’ve come back to school, those students have still shown a lot of shyness, a lack of self-confidence, a lot of them are still choosing to wear masks, covering their faces,” Madsen said. “I want the students to know that they are talented, and that they can share that talent with the world, and have it be positively received.”

He said that he wrote this song to bring them together, and to build up these skills that the pandemic might have taken from them.

“I feel that they are so nervous to put anything out there for fear that they are going to be made fun of or ridiculed,” said Madsen, “But something that brings us all together, that brings some notoriety in the community is something that they needed. And so, it’s been a really gratifying experience.”

The concert is on Tuesday, starting at 6 p.m. in the Ochoa Middle School cafeteria. 6th, 7th, and 8th graders will perform, as well as some students from Chiawana High School’s orchestra.

They want the community to support the orchestra classes, because this is their last performance of the year.

“The only thing we know: It’s going to be fun,” said Cynthia Delacruz, an eighth grade violinist.

“I just want to say thank you to Mr. Madsen for writing this song. It actually means something to me, and I just really love it,” said Brittany.

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