Carrie Underwood Donates Instruments To Hometown High School

Carrie Underwood’s new hometown foundation, the Checotah Animal, Town & School Foundation (C.A.T.S.) and the ACM (Academy of Country Music) Lifting Lives partnered to surprise students Friday in Checotah, Oklahoma. 
C.A.T.S. and the Academy of Country Music’s charitable arm gave new instruments, valued at $117,000, to students, along with a special performance by Underwood, ACM Entertainer of the Year. 
“We are so lucky as a school district and a town to have an ambassador like Carrie,” said Brian Terry, Principal of Checotah High School. “She was Valedictorian here and continues to be an outstanding citizen of Checotah. Today was a very special day for the students and faculty.”
Checotah Intermediate, Middle and High School Music students across the district were summoned to a special “last-minute” assembly at Checotah High School. Students and faculty were surprised when Underwood and Erin Spahn, Director of ACM Lifting Lives were introduced. 
“I am so proud to have come from such a wonderful community that helped shape me as a person,” said Underwood, “and I can think of nothing better than to share the gift of music with the students in my hometown.  It’s so great to be able to give back in a way that can truly better the lives of these kids and help create dreams and opportunities.  I’d like to give a very special thanks to the Academy of Country Music’s ‘Lifting Lives’ for helping me make this dream come true.”
The gift of instruments included an electric guitar and amp, electric piano and brass instruments such as saxophones, French horns, tubas and more to be shared throughout the Checotah school district. 
During the presentation, Underwood asked 5th grader Kennedy Rittenhouse to join her onstage to perform “So Small.”  
“When Carrie came to us with this idea, it just seemed a natural fit,” said Erin Spahn, who met with Underwood earlier this summer to plan the gift. “The Board of ACM Lifting Lives liked the concept so well, we’ve decided to build on it.  Every year, we will present a matching gift opportunity to the ACM Entertainer of the Year for any endeavor that uplifts through the power of music. Carrie started that ball rolling, and we’re really proud to be a part of this with her today.”