Teacher Leads High School Drum Line in Struggling Area

James Van Buren's drum line will play for the President in Washington, D.C, in 2015.
8:43 | 11/28/14

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Transcript for Teacher Leads High School Drum Line in Struggling Area
I'm backstage in a TV studio in Hollywood about to surprise a very deserving teacher. I'm talking about a surprise of a lifetime. But there's no way I could do this by myself. I need some help. Who, who, jimmy. You're perfect for this, are you in? You mean, potentially giving someone a heart attack? Absolutely. Let's do it! All right. Let's do it. Here in the struggling del paso heights area of Sacramento, kids often get pulled into gangs and are tempted by drugs. The young men particularly that I deal with, they're physically threatened every day. They are tempted to be distracted and get involved in something' that's negative, 'cause the opportunities are there, every day. Every day. So this teacher, James van Buren, Mr. V as he's known to his students, grabbed their attention another way by playing his drums during lunch period. The kids were hooked! And before long, a drum line was formed. It's not about pretty. It's not about handsome. It's about the ability to play. So, my rule is if you can play, I want you. A lot of gang members come out here. They sell drugs, do this, do that. But as a drum line, we all protect ourselves. You know, when you see our kids from our community, who have some struggles they have to endure just to get to school, and you see 'em out performing, it just -- it's really special. The school does not fund the drumline, so they perform for a paycheck, playing before and after school, and on the weekends. That is how we raise money. And that is how we survive. Mr. V pitches in by using his own van to drive his drummers around, all at his own cost. I love them. I want them to know that I always have their back. And anything they need, I'm always there for them. And while Mr. V still wears a smile for his kids every day, the one challenge they can't seem to overcome is raising enough money to get them to Washington, D.C., where the drum line has been selected to represent California in the national Independence day parade. I'm about to go on stage with jimmy Kimmel. Now, Mr. V is in the audience and he has no idea what's about to happen. Welcome back. You know our next guest from "Good morning America," where she is well loved by all. She is here to remind us to put the thanks back in Thanksgiving. Please welcome robin Roberts. They're in a Thanksgiving mood, aren't they? Yeah, of course. Well, we're thankful you're here. Thank you. Do you like Thanksgiving? Is it one of your favorite holidays? I love it, love it, love to cook. It's the one day of the year where I cook. Do you watch the football games? I really love halftime. I love those marching bands. You do? I was in a marching band when I was -- yes, I was in the high school marching band. Wow. No ones ever complimented me on that. But when you talk about that, it makes me think about all the great teachers we have. In fact, you have a wonderful music teacher here in California that is really all about the kids. Is that right? Who is that wonderful music teacher? Would it happen to be a special teacher, Mr. V? The gig is up, man! Come on down! Come on down, Mr. V! There he is! I cannot believe this! How are you, Mr. V? Have a seat right here. What, you just thought you were here? We have to put a microphone on you because this is a genuine surprise. There we go. Also I'm going to grab a pair of scissors and get rid of this ponytail. We will do that later. This is incredible. You didn't know why you were coming here tonight, correct? I said I was going to watch the show. Uh-huh, you thought you were going to watch the show. And you did watch the show. I did watch the show. But you didn't know you were going to a part of the show? No. Why is it, why do you think it is, and I'm sure this is probably difficult for you to say, your students are so fond of you and that you're a special teacher to them? I'm dad. I really love my kids. We spend a lot, I'd say an enormous amount of time, and we're always together. So, I get their respect as if I was there father, and I love them as if they were my kids. That's pretty good. That's all you can ask for, I guess. Mr. V, it's obvious how much those children, those students mean to you, we want to show you how much you mean to them, the drum line. Take a look. You help me mature as a person and as an adult. I am a stronger person because the drumline has brought me out, made me feel like I was someone. I represent something good. Thanks for being there for us. I want to thank you for everything you did. Thank you. You make me turn around from being a shy kid, to a happy kid. Thank you, Mr. V. Thank you, Mr. V, for being like a second father to me. For always being by my side when I was down. We love you, and we hope we get farther than we is. Thanks, Mr. V. Thank you, Mr. V. Thank you for everything! That's incredible. Have they ever thanked you before? Well, not like that! Is the drumline good? The drumline is excellent. We've been invited to play for the president in 2015. Well, that is pretty good. Well, I would love to hear some of their work. Can we cue the drumline? Yeah! ? ? Whoo! Yeah! Nicely done! Nicely done! We know that you drive them around, all the equipment that they have. You kind of have a van that's probably seen some better days. So we have some friends here, jimmy and I, community chevrolet in Burbank. They have a gift for you because they are as inspired as we are. That is your new car. Yes! A 2015 chevy equinox. We've got a set of keys. That's yours, baby! That's yours from our friends. Yeah! Thank you. Thank you, everybody. We heard you talking about playing for the president. Is that what you were talking about? Yes. That's July 4th. A big event, big parade there in Washington, D.C. And we know you've all been working really hard to raise funds so you can go there. Again, we have some great friends. Some wonderful people from Marriott international, they're going to provide all the hotel rooms in Washington, D.C., for your drum line. Thank you. Marriott is really coming up big, that's not all they're doing. Is Guillermo busy? Send in Guillermo! Here he is! Look at this! Look at the size of that check! A check for an additional $20,000 from Marriott rewards because they want to inspire others to have that same spirit in their community to help and to educate. So Marriott rewards, $20,000 in addition to the rooms. So we think this will cover your cost. Will this do it? We're going to be there with Marriott because we want to make sure we film all of this because it's going to be an experience of a lifetime. So we will be there with Marriott to put it all on film for you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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