A Symphony of Solutions

    “A Symphony of Solutions,” Ensign, Aug. 1991, 67

    A Symphony of Solutions

    “We settled in Los Angeles specifically because of the ethnic mix,” explains Carol Turley, Young Women president in the Westwood Second Ward, in the Los Angeles California Stake. “You can’t buy the rich experiences your children can get from living in a diversified culture,” she adds.

    A mother of six and an advocate for public schools, Sister Turley began a campaign to improve Alexander Hamilton High School, where 80 percent of the students come from minority backgrounds.

    “At first, she stood alone, with only the support of her husband, Brent,” says Jim Berk, principal of Hamilton High. “Then we stood with her.”

    Sister Turley wanted to revive the dying high school, with its dwindling student enrollment. She rallied the community to battle against the tough image the school had. “We needed something to entice people back to our campus,” she says, “something so outstanding as to draw like a magnet.”

    Then came the idea of a music academy. When it was finally established, the Hamilton Music Academy worked like a magnetic field, and the school’s enrollment soared from three hundred to eight hundred students.

    Those results came after Carol helped raise money to build practice rooms and purchase pianos, search out qualified music instructors, and organize a booster club to raise money for academic, athletic, and performing arts programs.

    The community caught Carol Turley’s vision, and Hamilton High’s music academy now has twenty-seven performing groups, who give ninety concerts a year. A gala ball is put on annually, in which students show the public what they have learned.

    Not only has Carol shown that one person can make a difference, she has also blessed her community and her own children with a unique educational opportunity.

    “I was helped by a greater source than myself,” she says. “In my heart, I believe God wanted my family in this area for a purpose. You just bloom where you’re planted.”—Amy K. Stewart, Provo, Utah

    Carol Turley: One concerned citizen can make a difference, even in a large urban school district. (Photography by Welden Andersen.)