Photo by Del Valle Band
If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Del Valle (Texas) High School snare drummer Stephen Dominguez used his one wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a new set of drums for his marching band.
Dominguez, a high school senior, has been battling cancer since the sixth grade. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
“The drums we had were really, really old,” Dominguez says. “I wanted them personally. I didn’t think anything big of it. I just wanted the people here to have new drums.”
The band staff and Make-A-Wish employees were shocked to hear Dominguez’ request since most kids ask to meet celebrities or go on trips. They rarely ask for something that benefits someone else.
“There are little kids that are going through worse than I’m going through,” Dominguez says. “I can see why they take the wishes for themselves, just to get away from it all. I see it as I could be worse. I’m not good in health, but I could be worse.”
Dominguez’ family worked with band staff to surprise him after his halftime show at a football game. They had told him the foundation wasn’t able to get drums and that he had to start thinking of his second choice wish. Booster parents secretly rolled out the set of new Dynasty drums for the presentation with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and dignitaries from the school and district.
“They called my name out,” Dominguez says. “I saw all my old teachers and family there, and I pretty much started crying instantaneously. The band was ecstatic. It was crazy. My friend was right next to me, and she started crying too. It was a very emotional night.”
According to band director Armando Martinez, students were shocked by the presentation.
“He’s a really good guy and a great kid,” Martinez says. “Ninety percent of the band didn’t even know he was sick. He’s never complained or let it bother him. As much pain as he is in, he never shows it until he goes home. He’s never let it stop him. He fights through the pain.”
Dominguez was able to use the new drums this competition season and will graduate this summer. “I do plan to go to college and further my education,” he says. “I did think about doing music, but right now I’m focusing more toward law enforcement.”