Band director hits the road for students

Published 3:19 pm Monday, November 12, 2018

Handley High School Band Director Matthew Goodman passed through Selma Monday as part of his trek from Roanoke, Alabama to New Orleans by foot.

Goodman is raising funds to take his students to the Sugar Bowl Dec. 29 and has every step of his trip mapped out.

Roanoke is 415 miles from New Orleans. According to Goodman’s calculations, it takes him approximately 1,760 steps to cover a mile. At that rate, he will take 730,400 steps to traverse the entirety of the trip.

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Goodman noted that if he could raise even a quarter per step, he would have enough to take all of his students to the Sugar Bowl, purchase new instruments for his band and repair older instruments.

“I want the band to function without parents having to break the bank,” Goodman said. “I just want to breathe life into the band.”

Goodman got the idea for his #Miles4Music campaign after watching “Forrest Gump.” With the idea in his head, he posted a Facebook video and vowed that if it received 100 likes, he’d run the whole 415 miles.

It did, quickly.

Arriving in Selma, Goodman had already covered 154 miles of his trip and raised a little over $1,600.

“Every cent matters,” Goodman said. “I’m just trying to get every kid there.”

He started on his voyage last Monday. After a brief stop on Friday to be with the band for a couple of performances, Goodman got back on the road Sunday.

“It’s bigger than the trip,” Goodman said of getting his students to the Sugar Bowl. “When the kids have something to look forward to, they participate. Being in a rural town, there’s not a lot to look forward to.”

Originally a baritone player, Goodman is taking steps – over 730,000 to be precise – to bring new opportunities to his students.

“Music saves lives,” Goodman said. “My principal said, ‘If we don’t go the extra mile for our students, who will?’ I’m just taking that literally and putting my foot to the pavement to be a game changer for these kids.”

To make a donation to Goodman’s effort, visit the band’s GoFundMe page at or call the school at 334-539-5266.