A Washington, D.C., high school marching band known by its many fans as the "Pride of Capitol Hill" was surprised with brand new shoes on "GMA3" this week.
Despite financial obstacles, The Blue and White Marching Machine of Washington's Eastern Senior High School has long been a treasured fixture in their community, setting students up for future success and beyond. All 12 graduating seniors last year received scholarships to their university of choice.
For the past few years, the band has been marching through the streets of DC with donated shoes, sometimes having to wear shoes that don't fit because there aren't enough to go around, but making it work nonetheless without complaint.
"It's really fulfilling to be a part of something as big as the band. We have a huge legacy in D.C. and we're a household name so everywhere we go people know us and people stop and look," 11th grade band member Amari said. "It's a little nerve-wracking but it's really fun, it's really exciting to know people know who we are."
These hardworking students practice with their dedicated band director James Perry daily, sometimes several times a day. But it's about more than the music for Perry, who started with the band 16 years ago.
"You see students who, they have things going on at home and then come in and bring some of that baggage here -- but we want this to be an outlet," Perry told ABC News. "We want this to be an escape from whatever they are dealing with. This is a safe space for all of our students and they can just come here and be kids."
Not only a band director, but at times a therapist, mediator, big brother and even father figure, Perry goes the extra mile, even selling his car in 2019 to help fund the program. He told "GMA3" the decision wasn't a difficult one.
"I always put my students first and I tell them I'd go to the end of the earth and back for them," he said.