Students performing “Stand by Me” by Ben King and “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley received a little support themselves thanks to a donation of wooden reels from TEP.

Once TEP finishes using the reels to store and transport wires and cables, we make them available to nonprofit groups and schools at no cost.

Christine Egan, the music teacher at Academy of Tucson Elementary School, 9209 E. Wrightstown Rd, turned several reels into tables that students use for instruments including ukuleles, maracas and tambourines. The tables will also feature prominently during the school’s Dec. 15 winter concert titled “We’re Better Together!”

Egan recently moved to Tucson from New York, where she performed in theatrical productions for more than two decades. When she was hired to build the school’s kindergarten to fifth grade music program, she looked for ways to improve the music room.

“A few months ago, I saw a news story about how TEP donates wooden reels and I immediately emailed to see if we could get 6 of them – and you all were amazing and came through for us,” said Egan.

She took the spools home and attached pieces of carpet to make them safe for classroom use, turning them into “…beautiful little xylophone tables for our students.”

“They love them and they’re very happy to have these in our room,” Egan said. “It provides some nice structure and organization to our space.”

Although the school does not have an auditorium, it stages performances in a tent on school grounds. Staff will move the wooden spool tables into the tent to create a performance space during the concert.

The wooden reels have been repurposed in a variety of ways by local schools and youth organizations, said Dulce Gibson, a TEP Supply Chain Supervisor. Up to 20 reels become available every week.

“It’s nice to see the community’s creativity in reusing our materials,” Gibson said. “I was very pleased to learn that the school found a good way to extend the usefulness of our materials.”

More information about TEP’s in-kind donations of items and services are available on our website.

Egan said the school will also hold a food drive during the upcoming concert.

“These are very uplifting, positive messages that we’re sending to our community,” Egan said.

This content was last updated on the date shown above. More recent information might be available elsewhere on