INLET BEACH — The real-life School of Rock has loaded its tour bus.
On Friday, 13 students from Ohana Institute set off on a five-gig tour across the Southeast. The program, Rock on the Road, is an elective class that was started four years ago by Jonathan Mitchell, the school's band director.
This year, two bands — Dance Hall and Skyline — will showcase their skills live.
"It's an amazing experience," Mitchell said. "It's kind of one of those programs where the idea is anything in life is possible."
In addition to rocking out, Mitchell said students also learn what it takes to budget and plan a concert.
All funds for the tour including food, transportation and hotel rooms are raised by the students, he added.
This year's budget tallied up to around $17,000.
"It's a win-win because it's important for these students also to understand ... that not everything in life is going to be handed to you," Mitchell said. "It's just real-world learning."
Lettye Burgtorf, founder of Ohana, said Rock of the Road helps students develop any facet of the music industry they're interested in — from the business side, to managing stage lighting, operating sound systems and performing.
"It feels amazing to know that Ohana students are learning to collaborate with one another, just as they would in a real-life situation with co-workers or their families," Burgtorf said in an email.
She added that Ohana was centered around providing a tailor-made learning environments for students.
Principal Jeanne Royer believed that when students have a say in the structure of their education, they become more motivated in all areas.
She said that Rock on the Road was founded on a "passion-based approach to learning."
"Watching them go into a real-world scenario with the intention to learn something from it is the greatest thing an educator can hope to witness," Royer added in an email.
According to Mitchell, four teachers will chaperone the bands while on tour. Students will also perform at a college along the way.
Looking ahead, he hoped to tour more local schools next year.
"(Music) opens their heart to share what they are going through, or what they are feeling," Burgtorf said. "Music is the universal language."