SAN ANTONIO – Students and staff at eight schools in the San Antonio Independent School District were surprised with $500 grants for classroom enhancements on Giving Tuesday, which kicks off the holiday donation season.

The SAISD Foundation presented 54 grants worth $500 each.

Martin Luther King Academy was among the campuses that were awarded a grant. The academy will use it to pay for a recording studio and teaching students how to write, produce and mix music.

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The first order of business: Creating a school song.

"The kids are absolutely going to love it," art teacher Samantha Perez said of the gift. "Our kids are all about the music. They get down, and I think they are really creative, and I think it's going to be a really good outlet for them." 

M.L. King Academy also received two other grants that will be used for a growing family gardening program and math enhancements in the classroom.

Foundation officials said that Giving Tuesday, an international observance in response to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is a great opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of students.

"I think this is the most significant day of the year, because we are investing in our most vulnerable people in our community, which is young people," said foundation member Brandon Logan.

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Officials with the San Antonio Area Foundation, which donates money to various services and causes, including schools, said they are lucky enough to have steady donations year-round.

SAAF president and chief operating officer Rebecca Brune said that Giving Tuesday is as good a day as any to make a holiday donation.

"I think it's extremely symbolic. I mean, you are just off of the end of Thanksgiving, so I think people are in this space of having given thanks and gratitude for what they have and realizing there are so many others who probably have less," Brune said.

Maverick Elementary received 12 grants, including one for introducing the QBall, a portable, tossable microphone to amplify student voices and stimulate classroom discussions. Another grant will fund a green screen for the "Dragon Network News," the school's daily broadcast.

The presentations Tuesday were the first of 146 grants that will be distributed through January across 74 campuses -- the largest number of schools to receive foundation grants.